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s- ^-.cA 

CAli No. 2>\ X 1 ^^^^^ 3 )^ 


LONDON : Fetter Lane 


The Macraillan Co. 




The Macmillan, Co. of 
Canada, Ltd, 


; All rights te&etved 




J. B. BURY, M.A., F.B.A. 




TO 1580 B.C. 





|fi!W^ l>r * V&M8Y 

4 v 

~ '- '*"" 



Cambridge Ancient History is designed as the first part 
JL of a continuous history of European peoples. The last part, 
the Cambridge Modern History^ has long since been complete, and 
the middle section, the Cambridge Medieval History^ is in course 
of publication, Starting with the remote and dim beginnings, 
upoh which some new rays of light fall every year, the Ancient 
History will go down to the victory of Constantine the Great in 
AD. 324, the point at which the Medieval lakes up the story, 

-The history of Europe begins outside Europe* Its civilization 
is so deeply indebted to the older civilizations of Egypt and 
south-western Asia that for the study of its growth the early 
history of those lands is more important than the barbarous life 
which Celts, Germans, and others lived within the limits of 
Europe* Europeans, who wish to follow the history of their own 
development from its origins, must first of all become acquainted 
with the civilizations of Egyptian, Sumerian, Hittite, Semitic and 
other peoples of north-eastern Africa and south-western Asia, and 
therefore our first volume is concerned mainly with these peoples, 

Behind the civilizations of Babylon and Egypt lies a vast and 
still little known tract of time during which man was gradually 
toiling up towards that relatively high stage of civilization he had 
reached when he first appears to us in his written records* The 
discoveries which have rewarded the geologists, geographers, 
*md anthropologists of the last few decades have made it feasible 
to attempt a reconstruction of the story of man in Europe and 
its environs throughout those prehistoric millenniums. The story 
of the land-masses prior to the formation of the present con- 
tinental system can in some measure be written down and its 
significance apprehended. It is not out of place to recall -that the 
written history of one of the peoples of Palestine, which represents 
only the unscientific ideas of an Dearly age, was up to very recent 
1|mes thought by learned tfaejx to furnish an authentic account of 
the beginnings of the earth and the 'human race, 

To-day a large though scattered mass of geological and archado^ 
logical facts supplies us with a little genuine knowledge p^Sit 
our ancestors were doing and making at a time wheii; ifta and 
water and climate differed appreciably from what th^^te how, a 
time long anterior to that once commonly thougfit to be the date 



of the creation of the universe itself. To ignore what is now 
known, little as it is and precarious as it may be, about palae^- 
lithic and early neolithic man, would be indefensible in a work 
which aims at explaining how Europe came to be what it is 
to-day. The activities of the palaeolithic age have helped to build 
modern Europe, and its effects persist; individuals of 'Ami- 
gnacian' descent, physically true to type, are among us stilL The 
first two chapters of this volume, by Professor Myres, show how 
the story of primitive man may be read by his latest descendants, 
and how the darkness before the 'dawn of history* may be 
illuminated by a brilliant interpreter. 

Chapter m, on the history of Exploration and Excavation, is 
designed to give the reader some notion of the arduous, qjid some- 
times romantic, work of a century which has revolutionized cmr 
knowledge of the Near East, In an account, necessarily brief, of 
archaeological discoveries in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria, the 
Hittite and Aegean areas, and Cyprus, the writer, Professor 
Macalister, shows how archaeological data have been classified 
and interrogated, and how unknown scripts have been deciphered 
and forgotten languages recovered. 

It seemed desirable to state the fundamental chronological 
problems which face the historian in regard to the early history 
of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine, and Greece; to show how 
archaeological and historical evidence have been co-ordinated; and 
in the case of conflicting systems of chronology to explain which 
has been adopted and why. Chapter iv will help the reader who 
is not familiar with prehistoric research to understand how it has 
been possible to frame a definite chronological scheme, especially 
when the data, as in the case of Crete, are purely archaeological, 

Thus the first four chapters are preliminary. In chapter v 
Dr S. A* Cook gives a general account of the Semitic area, famous 
as a stepping-stone between three continents and as the home of 
three great religions. This chapter is a prelude to the later history 
of the Semites* It describes generally the mind of the Semite as 
revealed in his beliefs and practices, in his history and his treat- 
ment of history, while it tells what is known about the early 
history of Syria and Palestine down to the close of the Hyks<y 
period, circa 1580 B.C., the lower limit of this volume, 

In the four chapters (vi to ix) devoted to Egypt, Professor 
Peet treats the early predynastic age on the basis or the archaeo- 
logical evidence, and describes Egyptian life and thought under 
the Old and Middle Kingdoms (chapters vi > ix), while the his- 
torical events, and the historical sources, the administration and 



the social conditions., of these two kingdoms, are dealt with by 
Dr H, R. Hall (chapters vn and vm). 

Three chapters (x to xn) on the earlier period of Babylonian 
history, by Professor Langdon, include an account of the interest- 
ing culture of ancient Susa and a discussion of the problem of the 
Sumerian invaders, and portray the history of the notable con- 
querors Sargon and Naram-Sin, in what may be called the Golden 
Age of the Sumerians. Mr Campbell Thompson (chapters xin to 
xv) continues the story, and also contributes a full description 
of the Golden Age of the Semitic Babylonians the age of 
Hammurabi and his Code of Laws, the discovery of which (in 
the winter of 19012) threw a brilliant light on the character of 
society in that part of the Near East, four thousand years ago. 

* Ifi the chapter (xvi) on early Egyptian and Babylonian Art 
Dr HalPs wide knowledge of ancient art and his familiarity with 
the collections in the British Museum have enabled him to 
illustrate the aesthetic temperaments of the peoples concerned, 
to discriminate the periods of artistic freshness and decline, and 
to throw light on the difficult problems of borrowing and foreign 
influence. The Editors regret that it was impossible to provide 
illustrative plates without unduly increasing the price of the 
volume; but in the Bibliography to this chapter the reader will 
find references to illustrated books. 

Finally, Mr Wace has contributed the chapter on the early 
civilization of Aegean lands. Thirty years ago the chapter would 
have been a blank, because there was absolutely nothing to say. 
One of the finest triumphs of archaeological research has Jbeen 
the discovery in Crete of a wonderful and unsxispected civilization 
in contact with Egypt and Asia. This ancient meeting of ea$ft and 
west offers problems which unite the classical and the Sepiitic 
scholar, the Egyptologist and the student of 'Bible-lands/ \ 

Our first volume, then, while it contains a survey of the &arly 
history of a large network of inter-related lands, down to the 
occupation of Egypt by the Hyksos and of Babylonia by the 
Kassites (events which may perhaps be associated with sweeping 
movements in Indo-European lands to the north), may also be 
Regarded as a general introduction to those that will follow it. In 
the next volume a new age opens up, an age characterized by 
what we may perhaps call internationalism : Greeks whose names 
were well remembered in Greek records will come upon the $tage 
and the curtain will rise upon Old Testament history. 

Any exposition of the history of early ages down to 3000 years 
ago and even beyond, must be in a very hig|i degree provisional* 


This is due to the fortunate circumstance that new evidence is 
continually and rapidly accumulating- Conclusions historians 
draw to-day from the records at their disposal about Babylonia", 
Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Aegean may be upset, corrected, 
amplified, or transformed by a new discovery to-morrow. Since 
the writing of this volume was begun, writers who had completed 
their contributions have seen cause to change some of their state- 
ments in the light of new evidence which happened to be revealed 
in the meantime. Obviously there is a limit to this and experts 
must not expect to find a reference in every case to the npwyettes 
de Ijt^derniere heure* Even as we are writing, Sir Arthur El^ans 
publishes the news that his latest excavations at Cnossus (the 
spring of 1922) have disclosed the fact that the end of the second 
phase of the c Middle Minoan ' civilization was due to lin efrtih- 
quake. We may note that this disaster was not contempor- 
aneous with the volcanic eruption which wrought ruin in Them 
and Therasia (see below, p. 603) 1 . 

The appearance of some new evidence, to enable us to decide 
finally between conflicting views of the chronologies of Egypt 
and Babylonia, is much to be desired. In accordance with the 
opinion of the great majority of scholars we have adopted the 
* shorter' dates (see chapter iv, i, iii). It is desirable to impress 
upon the reader that the precision with which the dates are 
assigned is based partly upon ancient lists and computations 
assumed to be tmstworthy, but partly also upon modern calcula- 
tions of a few crucial dates as to which there is no definite 
unanimity. The date adopted here for Hammurabi is not accepted 
by some high authorities. And as to Egypt, Dr Hall is unable to 
accept the view of Professor E. Meyer and other historians who 
follow him, that the Xllth Dynasty ended in 1788 B.C*; and 
he puts back the date by more than two centuries. This view 
affects both the earlier Egyptian dates and the chronology of the 
early Aegean periods which depend on Egyptian synchronisms* 
'Early Minoan HI/ which the latest investigations of Sir Arthur 
Evans have shown to extend from the Vlth to the Xlth Dynasty,, 
is on our chronological scheme 200 years earlier than it is on the 
scheme which he has adopted. See pp. 173, 656 syy, 

In a co-operative work of this kind, no editorial pains coma 
avoid a certain measure of overlapping; and in fields, where there 

* Weidner's recent discussion of Sargon's expedition to the west, and of 
the oldest historical relations between Babylonia and the Hittite area, may- 
be mentioned as another example of the progressive character of studies in 
this field (see p. 647, 6). 



Is so much uncertainty and such wide room for divergencies of 
Xiews? as in the first two volumes, overlapping must mean that 
occasionally different writers will express or imply different 
opinions. It has not been thought desirable to attempt to eliminate 
these differences, though they are often indicated or discussed. 
Such inconsistencies may sometimes be a little inconvenient for 
the reader's peace of mind, but it is better that he should learn 
to take them as characteristic of the ground over which he is 
being guided than that he should be misled by a dogmatic con- 
sistency into accepting one view as authoritative and final. 

It will easily be understood that it is not possible to give 
chapter and verse for every statement or detailed arguments for 
every opinion, but it is hoped that the work will be found service- 
able to professional students as well as to the general reader. 
The general reader is constantly kept in view throughout, and 
our aim is to steer a middle course between the opposite dangers, 
a work which only the expert could read or understand and one 
so * popular' that serious students would rightly regard it with 

In this connexion, the problem of transliterating occurs, and 
a quite satisfactory solution has not been found. Conventional and 
accepted spellings have been retained, but where usage varies 
the more correct are used (for Instance Mohammed, Nebuchad- 
rezzar), For classical Greek names the Latin forms are adopted 
(as in the yournal of Hellenic Studies). In regard to oriental names, 
we have thought it reasonable to assume that general readers are 
indifferent to what experts know; and experts do not always 
agree as to the precise spelling. We have followed generally 
Breasted, Hall, and King, and the Encyclopaedia Biblica, but 
attention has been paid to the lists drawn up by the Royal 
Geographical Society, and to the transliteration of Arabic recom- 
mended by the British Academy (vol. vm). The difficulty of 
transliterating unvocalized Egyptian names and of Interpreting 
names in cuneiform is commented on below (pp. 119, 126), Some 
modern technical transliterations are as formidable-looking as the 
hieroglyphs themselves. In Egyptian and in the other languages 
}h is adopted instead of s or the like; s for , ts, etc.; k for q, etc.; 
and kh for the harder guttural fc, &. But Hatti and Habiru haye 
been written because *Hittite* and * Hebrew* are so familiar; a$d 
Hammurabi is now well enough known to dispense even ^ith a 
diacritical point. Names when they first occur are sometimes 
written with their proper vowel-lengths, etc.; but as a rule dia- 
critical marks have been avoided (although :, Kaahshi may be 


thought clumsier than Kassi), and more or less conventional 
spellings (e.g. Ashur) have been freely employed. On the? other 
hand, an attempt is made in the Index to register some of the 
more correct spellings which for one reason or another deserve 
attention, but could not be introduced into the text without 
making it unduly technical 1 , 

We wish to express our indebtedness to contributors for their 
readiness in carrying out editorial suggestions, in avoiding 
archaeological and other technicalities and in restricting the use 
of footnotes; for advice on questions of transliteration and on 
other difficult questions which arose from time to time; and foFthe 
preparation of the bibliographies and the lists of kings, 

Mr Wace is indebted to Sir Arthur Evans for his kindness in 
reading the chapter on the Aegean and Early Greece,, imcr the 
Aegean section of the chapter on Chronology. Professor Myres 
wishes to express obligations to Professor H. J. Fleure, to Mr 
Harold Peake, F.S.A., and to Mr L. H, D. Burton. Dr Cook 
wishes to thank Dr H. R. Hall, Professor Kennett and Dr 
Nicholson for help in revising chapter v. He is particularly 
indebted to Professor A. A. Bevan, who read two proofs, and 
made many valuable criticisms and suggestions. But for the views 
put forward in that chapter the writer has sole responsibility. 

Special thanks are due to Professor Myres for the Table facing 
p. 660, and for the preparation of Maps i 6* For permission to 
use Maps 7, 8 and 1 1 we are indebted to the publishers of the 
Encyclopaedia Biblica^ Messrs A. & C, Black; to Messrs Chatto 
& Windus for Maps 9 and 10 (from the first and second volumes 
of the late Dr Leonard W. King's A History of Babylonia and 
Assyria from Prehistoric Times to the Persian Conquesi)\ and to 
Messrs Methuen & Co. for the plan of Babylon on p. 504 (from 
Dr H. R, Hall's The Ancient History of the Near East from the 
Earliest Times to the Battle of Salamis)* The index has been made 
by Mr W. E. C, Browne, M.A., former scholar of Ernmamiel 

The design on the outside cover represents Hammurabi, king 
of Babylonia, and is from the head of the stone monument on 
which is inscribed the famous code now known after his namdt 
on the original he is depicted standing in the conventional 
attitude of adoration before the sun-god, Shamashu, the god of 
righteousness and justice* 

J. B- B, 
8. A. C. 
F, E. A. 
* See the letters a, c, d, g, h> j, k, q, s, t and z in the Index. 


^ ||" ^HE demand for a new edition of the first volume of the 
JL Cambridge Ancient History has come much sooner than the 
Editors ventured to anticipate, and they have not been able to do 
more than make some corrections and modifications which could 
be effected without disturbing the paging* 

TSe remarks which they made at the top of page viii of the 
Preface have been amply justified since the volume was first sent 
to press. j[n Egypt, the Aegean, Babylonia, Palestine and Syria, 
excavations have continued and interesting discoveries have been 
made. At Byblus, for instance, new information has been gained 
touching the extensive relations between Egypt and Phoenicia 
during the Middle Kingdom (see below, p. a 2 6), The successful 
diggings at el-'Obeid and Kish have supplied archaeological and 
historical data, of which the bearing on the period covered in 
this volume cannot yet be justly estimated. We may point to 
Mr C. L. Woolley's report (The Times^ Jan. 19, 1924) of a monu- 
ment of A-an-ni-pad-da, son of Mes-an-ni-pad-da (on whom see 
below, p. 367), and Professor Langdon's addition to the kings 
of Kish (tb. Jan. 22, 1924). But the information which is thus 
being accumulated must be submitted to a careful criticism, and 
that takes time, as experience shows that the full significance of 
fresh material cannot be evaluated at once. This is especially true 
of the problems of chronology, which for the early Sumerian period 
have assumed a new aspect through Professor Langdon's publi- 
cation of a very important list of the early kings. Although, with 
the ever-present prospect of other historical inscriptions coming to 
light, we cannot treat this document as decisive, yet, as its im- 
portance is unquestionable, it seemed desirable that some account 
of it should be given in this edition, and on page xiii sq* 
will be found a statement drawn up on the basis of Professor 
Langdon's publication and of some notes which he has kindly 

A fly-sheet containing all the more important corrections 
and additions to this volume will also be issued separately with 
volume ii. 

Some reviewers made the justifiable criticism on volume i that it 
suffered from the absence of illustrations. The Editors are glad 
to be able to state that the Syndics of the University Press have 


agreed to publish a volume of plates which, it is hoped, will 
appear in the course of I fit,, 

It remains for the Editors to express their cordial thanks to 
the contributors for help in the preparation of the new edition, 
particularly to Mr A, J, B.Iace in the account of excavations in the 
Aegean (Chap, in Section vi), and to Mr Campbell Thompson for 
the translation of the Kassite names thich is given on p. xv. 



PROFESSOR LANGDON has recently published an important inscription, part of the Weld- 
Blundell collection 1 in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. It is a large prism with 
eight columns of closely-written chronological material which gives the entire 
Sumerian lists of dynasties before and after the Flood to the end of the Isin dynasty 
in 2076 B.C. A small tablet in the same collection contains the names of the ten kings 
who reigned before the Flood, for which period it gives 456,000 years. The dynastic 
prism aas only eight kings before the Flood and assigns to them a duration of 241,200 
years. Other important dynastic lists in fragmentary condition have been found in 
the Nippur Collection. These agree with the Oxford prism in giving twenty dynasties 
from t&e Fld%d to the Isin dynasty inclusive, and 125 kings. 

The first dynasty reigned at Kish (p. 365, 1. 18 from end). It included 23 kings, 
who are said to have reigned 24,510 years, 3 months and 3^ days. The figure recalls 
the 'World-year' of 25,920 years, the approximate period of the sun's apparent 
revolution through the twelve signs of the zodiac; but it is unlikely that the precession 
of the equinoxes was known even in the age of the most advanced Babylonian 
astronomical knowledge (Langdon, op, tit* p. 3, n. 6, cf. Kugler, Stsrnkunde und 
Sterndienst in Babel, u, 2432). The longest and shortest reigns of this dynasty are 
1500 and 140 years respectively; the names differ somewhat from the list on p. 665, 
and the name of Zukakipu (the 'scorpion') is replaced by Daggagib. The first 
dynasty of Erech (p. 366) counted twelve kings, reigning 2310 years. The name 
of the second king of the dynasty of Ur (p. 367, 1. 19) may preferably be read 
Meskem-Nannar. The dynasty of Awan (the identification with Awa& should be 
omitted on pp. 366, L 21 sf. 9 438, L 14, from end) had three kings ruling 3 56 years. 

The details on p. 367 (lower half of the page) are considerably affected by the 
new prism. A list of seven kingdoms now intervenes between the semi-historic period 
and the northern Semitic kingdom of Akshak. The second dynasty at Kish, which 
succeeded that at Awan, may be placed about 3700 B.C.; to its eight kings the prism 
assigns 3195 years. The next dynasty ruled at Kharnazi and its king Khadanish is 
said to have ruled 360 or 420 years, the figures are presumably errors for six: or seven 
years* The sovereignty then returns to Erech in the south (c* 3400 B*C.), where the 
name of only one king, Enugduanna, is known. It is probable that the names of 
Lugalkigubnilakh and Lugalkisalsi are to be inserted here. After this second kingdom 
of Erech we reach the second kingdom of Ur, where four kings ruled 1 08 years. 
The capital now shifts to Adab for a period of 90 years, and then far to the north at 
Maer, where a dynasty of six kings (Ansir, [Lugaltar]zi, the rest are mutilated) 
reigned 136 years. It seems evident from the texts that the two succeeding kingdoms 
of Kish (the third) and Akshak were contemporary. 

If, therefore, we may follow the new source, it may be computed that these 
djpiasties were founded about 29676 B.C., in which case the first approximately 
fixed date in Sumero-Babylonian history will have to be placed more than 200 year* 
lower than that given on p. 367, L 4 from end. 

Moreover, it would now seem that the old third dynasty of Kish disappears (sec 
p. 667 [8], and n. 4); the two kings Urzaged and Lugal-tarsi belong to the second 
dynasty of Erech, and Mesilim possibly to the Awan dynasty (Langdpn, op f cit. 

1 Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts, n. The Weld~$lundett collections, vol. ki. Historical 
inscriptions, containing principally the chronological prism, W-B 444. Oxford, 1923. 



p. 6 /f.). The first kings of ELish of whom we have contemporary records apparently 
belonged to other kingdoms, and claim the title because of its dignity. Oa p. 3^3,^ 
L 9 jf. read: who followed the second kingdom at Kish and the brief dynasty of 
Khamazi (r. 3400). 

The third (not/0r/j) dynasty of Kish was founded by Kug-Bau, as the name 
should now be read instead of Azag-Bati (p. 370 last par., and 1. 7 from end). 
Ur-Nina was contemporary with the rulers of Maer, not Akshak (p. 379, L 14 from 
end). On p. 380, 11. 9o ? omit the words: convincing evidence. * * dynasty, and 
ib. 1. 6 from end, for Uruazagga the better reading now is Uru-kugga, 

Rimush (p. 408, L 19 from end), according to the Oxford prism, reigned nine 
years. Manishtusu was his elder brother (p. 409, L 21 Jf.). Naram-Sitx was his son 
(contrast /^,), although Babylonian tradition calls him son of Sargon (p. 4r^foot) 1 . 
For 22 read 24 (/<.last line); and note that the prism gives a much lower figure for 
his reign probably 38 years (p. 413, L 6). 

The fifth dynasty of Erech contains only one king, Utukhegal, to whom is ascribed 
a reign of 7 years, 2 months and 7 days (p. 434, last par.). T o Dungi^p. 43^, L 6) 
is ascribed a reign of 47 (not 58) years, and Langdon reduces all the figures in his 
reign (11. 418, and also p. 456, 1. 21 from end) by eleven. The length of the reign 
of Bur-Sin (p. 4575 L 20) is given as nine (not <gvijf) years. 

Finally, on the basis of the Oxford prism and other evidence Langdon arrives at 
dates generally lower than those adopted in this volume. Starting from Kegler's 
brilliant interpretation of the tablet of observations of the planet Venus for the twenty- 
one years of the reign of Ammi-zaduga, the tenth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, 
and in consultation with the Oxford astronomer, Dr Fotheringham, he now holds 
that the beginning of this dynasty may be placed at 2 1 69 E.G. The astronomical 
calculations in themselves are not entirely final, and the argument also turns upon 
the precise beginning of the year in certain contracts relating to the division of the 
date-harvest and the renting of fields in the seventh-eighth months. The date which 
Langdon now adopts is fifty-six years lower than that adopted in this volume (pp. 
404, 1. 3, 479, 67.3)> but he definitely rejects the much lower dates for the dynasty 
which are held by Weidner (viz. 2057, see p. 672, xu i) and Kugler (viz. 2049), 

Langdon maintains the date 2357 for the beginning of the dynasty of Isin (pp* 
471, 672); but, besides the modification of the earliest approximately fixed date 
(viz. 29676, see above), other important changes are suggested arising out of the 
Oxford prism. Thus, the Maer-Akshak-Kish domination (p. 373^ L 14) may be 
dated 3 103-2777, For the Kug-Bau dynasty (/ L 7) he suggests 2967-2873, and 
a similar reduction of about 120 years becomes necessary on p, 378, L 12 (viz. 
2967-2873)* So the date of Sargon becomes 2752 (pp. 368, L 16 from end, 403, 
1. 8). Lugal-zaggisi begins to reign in 2777 (pp. 39 5, L 21, 402, L %), The fourth 
dynasty of Erech Is dated 2571-2542 (p, 423, L 9), and that of Gutium becomes 
2541-2416 (pp. 423 f$. 9 670). Ur-Bau's date is 2620 (p. 373, L 26). The end of the 
last dynasty of Ur is fixed at 2328 (p. 377, L 13), and Dungi and Bursin are dated 
respectively 2391 and 2345 B.C. ,(pp, 437, 1 5, 457, L 19), 

These dates indicate the complexity of the chronological problems, and the 
difficulty of obtaining conclusive results, owing to the serious differences among tfce 
ancient souf ces themselves and the frequently very intricate character of the astro- 
nomical and other questions. They are not to be regarded as final, but it seemed 
desirable that a general statement of the evidence published by Prof* Langdon should 
be made accessible in this edition. 

1 Prof. Lang-don adds that Sargfon claims to have collected ships from Melukhkha, 
Magan and Diknun at the quay of Agade (addition to p, 404, L 14), 


i i ^ i 

ring is a translation of the Babylonian renderings of the names 
of tie twenty-one kings, diiefly Kassites, mentioned on p, ^ of volume i; 



'Offspring of k Lord of Us' 

'Servant o or 
'Help of Bel 






Protect(ion) of [Stall] 11 




BY JOHN L. MYRES, O.B.E., M.A., D.Sc., F.S.A. 
Wykeham Professor of Ancient History, Oxford 



Definition of History I 

Nature and Man ..,.,.. 2 


Theseaof 'Tethys* 4 

Tertiary mountain-building 6 

Crust movements ..,,,.... 8 

Beginning of the Mediterranean * 9 

Tertiary flora and fauna . . , . . . . . r I 

Africa separated from Asia 13 

The Highland Zone 14 

Relation to the Southern Flatland 16 

African fauna , . . . . . . * * 17 


Effect upon flora and fauna . . . , . . . 19 


Mongoloid man ,..,.. 22 

His extension 24 

African fauna and African man * . * , * 2 5 

Sequence of human types 27 

The white races , ,..,,.. 28 


The Nile Valley ......... 33 

Domesticated plants and animals . * , . . * 35 

Links between Egypt and Europe 36 

Man in Syria and Arabia 37 

The Semites 38 

Palestine 39 

The Euphrates and Mesopotamia ...... 40 


Conditions in Armenia and Iran .43 


Mousterian man ......... 4^ 

Later types * ... .*.. 48 

Later palaeolithic cultures * S 


The kitchen-middens . - * , , * , S3 

Swamp and forest in north-west Europe 54 






The forests . 58 

Varieties of man .*...... 59 

Forest culture and polished implements . ... - 63 


Inventions ......... $7 

Eurasian and Eurafrican cradle-lands . . . ^9 

Pottery and pottery styles ....... 70 


The lake-dwelling 73 


Daimbian pottery ......... 77 

South-eastern Europe and Asia Minor 79 


Waggon-dwelling culture; languages ...... 84 


Contact with the west 4 88 


The influence of Cyprus and Syria *... 90 


Early Aegean culture ..... 93 


'Megalithic* origins . <, * . * * 95 


XII. THE COMING OF BRONZE . . . . . . .103 

Aegean influence . . f , . . . .105 


The horse . . . . * , . * . 107 

First appearance of iron . . . . . . . 109 

Cremation . . . . . . , . . j to 


Professor of Celtic Archaeology, University College, Dublin 


Petrie's pottery test . . . . . . . , * XI4 

II. EGYPT : (a) Surface exploration , . . . , . .116 

(&) Decipherment * . . . . . ,117 

(c) Excavation , ,120 


(a) Surface exploration . . . , , 122 

(ff) Decipherment , . . , . . 123 

(r) Excavation . , m , , , ^ ,127 



(a) Surface exploration. . . . . . .130 

(<) Decipherment . . . . . . ...132 

(<r) Excavation . . . . . . . .132 

V. THE HITTITE EMPIRE . . . . . . . . *35 


The work of Schliemann , , . . . . 137 

Periods of Cretan culture. . , . . . . .139 

VII. CYPRUS ........... 142 

Decipherment of Cypriote , . . . . . 1 44 




Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge 

Introduction ........... 145 

Mesopotamian usage . . . . . . . . . .147 

The limmu lists ........... 148 

The testimony of Berosus . , . . . . . . .150 

Assyrian data * . . . . . . . . .153 

Dates of Hammurabi and Saigon . . . . . . . .155 

Table of dates 156 



Character of data . . . . . . , . .156 

Period of the monarchy . . . . . . . . .158 

Exilic and post-exilic period . . . . . . * ,162 

Pre-monarchical period > . . . . . . . .163 

General character of the chronology . . . . . .165 

Table of dates 1 66 


Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum 

Direct sources .... ....... 166 

Sothic cycle ........... 168 

Date of Xllth Dynasty . , 169 

Date of Menes . . . . . . . . . .171 

Institution of the calendar, 4241 B.C. ....... 172 

Table of dates 173 

BY A. J. B. WACE> M.A. 

Formerly Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge j Late Director of 

the British School of Archaeology, Atb* 

Archaeological periods , ... tyrj 

Early and Middle Minoan 175 

Late Minoan . . . . . . . . , ^ , [76 

Greek legend and tradition . . '. . . , *"- , 178 

Helladic and Minoan co-ordinations . . , . . ,179 

Thessalian periods ..*.., ...180 







Geographical limits . . . . . - - ,182 

The * sons 7 of Noah: Shem 184 

The Semitic languages . . . . . - , .186 

The alphabet 189 

Migrations and trading movements - , . . .190 
Semitization of immigrants . . . . . . * ' 192 

Influence of Arabia , . .193 


Psychology of the languages . . . - .195 

Religious characteristics ....- . 197 

Polytheism and Monotheism . . . . . . .199 

Semitic and non-Semitic thought .*.,.. 203 

The extremes of the Semites . . , . , . .205 


The^W 207 

Attitude to the divine powers . . , . .209 

Fundamental ideas , . . , . . . . ,210 

Men and the gods , . . . . . . .213 

The sanctity of kings . . . . . . . .214 

Historical vicissitudes , . . , . . . ,216 

IV. TREATMENT OF HISTORY- . . . . . . . .2x7 

Treatment of tradition . . . . , * . ,219 

Attitude to development . . . . . . . .231 

The writing of history , . . , . . ,222 

Historical ideas . , . * , * . ,223 

V. SYRIA AND PALESTINE * .... , . ... . 225 

The story of Sin tihe . * , . . * ,226 

Amor and Mesopotamia . * . . . . . ,230 

Amorite gods P . * . . . . .231 

The Hyksos 233 

Native Palestinian traditions . , , . , .234 

Genesis, chap, xiv , . . . . . . . .236 

Paucity of historical material , . , ^ . .237 


Professor of Egyptology, Liverpool University 

Predynastic burial ....., 239 
Predynastic settlements . . , , , . , ,241 
Pottery and stone vases .,.*.*, 243 

Physical type, language and religion . - . 244 



II. JC^iTA FOR HISTORY ......., 247 

Introduction of tlie Calendar ....... 248 

Sources for the predynastic period . , * . , .250 
Historical slate palettes . . . . . . . .251 

Ivory- knife-han die from Gebel el- Arak . . . .252 
Original home of the predynastic Egyptian . * . . .254 
Indications of eastern origin , , . . . .255 


By H. R, HALL 


Sources . . . . . . . , . .258 

Infiltration of aliens . . . . . . . . 261 

Hamites and Armenoids ........ 262 

Kingdoms of the north and south . . . . . .265 

Pre~Menic kings ......... 266 

The originals of Menes . . . . . . .267 

Narmerza .......... 268 

The court of Semti ......... 270 

The dead and mummification ..,..,. 272 

II. DYNASTIES II IV . . . . . . , , .274 

Zos&r and the first pyramid ...**. 276 
The age of Snefru ......... 278 

Pyramids of Gizeh. . . . . . . . 28 r 

Zenith of Egyptian art . . . . . . . .282 

Mycerirxus . . , . , * " . , . .282 


The 'son of the Sun-god* 285 

Art and religion . . . . . . . . .286 

The 'admonitions of Ptahliotep' . , . . . .288 

Unis and the pyramid at Sakkarah ... ... 290 

Pepi ........... 291 

Uni in Palestine ......... 293 

Entrance of negroes . . . . . . . .295 

The Heracleopolites ........ 297 




DYNASTIES XI AND XII ........ 299 

Amenemhet I and the god Amon . * . , . 301 

The Instructions of Amenemhet . , . , . .303 

The story of Sinuhe . . . . . . . 3 04 

The works of Senusret (Sesostris) I . . . * , . 305 

Relations with Crete . , . . * . .307 

Senusret III, the historical Sesostris . * . ,,, . - 308 

Amenemhct III , * , , . , , r . . . 309 



II. THE HYKSQS , 3 10 

North Syrian movements . . . . . - . . 3 F2 

Yekeb-hal, Khian and other kings . . . . . - 3 1 3 

Expulsion of the Hyksos . . . . - 3 r 4 


Life of the people 3*7 

Officials and soldiers . . . . . - 3 * & 

Tombs and religion . . . . . . .321 

The priesthood 3 2 3 

Religious literature . . . - . . . . .324 
A Messianic prophecy . . . . . . . ,325 




General Egyptian character - , * . . . * ,326 


Local and solar cults . . . . . . 329 

Osiris - . . . . . , . . . -S3^ 

The^ 334 

The tomb, death, and the hereafter . . . * * -33^ 


Language and writing . . . . . . .341 

Early literature . . . . . . . , 343 

Pessimism . . . . . , , . * * 345 

III. THE MIDDLE KINGDOM . . . . . , . ,346 

Moral standards . . . . . . . . .347 

'Story of the Eloquent Peasant' 349 

Coffin Texts . * 351 

Belief in a judgment . . .*. , . 353 
Hfke, rnagic and morality. . . . . . 354 


Professor of and Shiliito Reader in Assyriology, Oxford 


The Euphrates and Lower Mesopotamia , . * . 358 

Sumer and the date-palm , . , . . 3 6C 

II. THE ORIGIN OF THE SvMERIANS . . . . . * ,361 

The cultures of Anau and Sxisa * * , . . ,362 


The first city-states . * . . . . m .365 

The third dynasty of Kish . . . , , . ,368 

The fourth dynasty of Kish . . * , , . 370 

Sumerian writing and religion , . . . 371 


TV TgE RECORDS OF THE CITY-STATES . . . . . . * 373 

Lagash . . . . . . . . . . -373 

Enkhegal and Ur-Nina . . . . . . . .374 

Shuruppak and its legends . . . . . . 377 

The dynasty of Ur-Nina, 3100 B.C. . . , . . 378 

Eannatum and Enannatum . . . . . . .380 

Entemena and his son . . . . . , . .382 

Rise of priests of Lagash . . . . . . .385 

Social reforms of Urukagina . . . . . ,387 

Inroad of Lugal-zaggisi . . . . , . .388 
V. OTHER crriEs , . . . . . . . . .389 

~ Umma . ..,.*,.... 389 

Adab .*.-**..,.. 39 

Nippur 391 

Isip and Larak ......... 393 

Kish ........... 393 

Cuthah 394 

Sippar 395 

Erech. ........... 396 

Larsa (Ellasar) ......... 397 

Ur 398 

Abu Shahrein (Eridu) . . . . . . . .399 

Myth of Adapa ......... 400 

Ashur ........... 401 




Stories of his origin , . , . . . . .403 

Conquests in the west ........ 404 

The foundation of Agade ....... 407 

Accession of Rirnush ........ 408 

Manishtusu .......... 409 

Contemporary monuments . . . . , .410 

Purchase of estates . . . . . , . . .411 


Deification of NaramSin . . . * . . * .413 
His conquests ......... 414 

Expedition to Magan . * . . . . . .415 

The * Stele of Victory* ........ 41,7 

Submission of Elam, Lagash and Nippur ..... ;^8 ]< 

Reign of Shargalisharri ........ f;T^ v 

The rise of Gutium , ; 1421 

Period of anarchy . . - . * . .,; ;;V; 4 22 


The kings of Gutium * . . . . . ./ . 424 

UrBau of Lagash . . . . * , . 425 



The statues of Gudea 4"^ s 

Contemporary art and literature . . - 43 2 

Overthrow of dynasty of Gutium . . . . . .434 




Might of Ur-Engur 43 6 

Conquests in the east . . . . . . .438 

Submission of Susa ........ 440 


Sumerian liturgies . . * . . , . .443 

The principal cults . . . . . . , , 4 44 

Conditions in Akkad ..,.*.. 44^ 


Early deities of the east . . . . . . . ,448 

Semitic infusion ......... 450 


Ashur ...**.... 451 

Subartu . . . * 452 

Cappadocia and its Semitic colony . . . . ,453 


Bur-Sin .......... 457 

Gimll-Sm ......* 458 

Ibi-Sin and his overthrow . * * .459 
Sumerian law and calendar *..*.* 461 
The influence of the Sumerians . * . . . .462 




Fellow of Mcrton College, Oxfc rd 

West Semitic elements ...*. 466 
Amor (Amurru) ..,.,.... 467 

Early Assyria ...*,,*. 468 
Kara-Euynk and Kerkuk . , . . . . . .470 

11^ THE DYNASTY OF ISIN ......,. 47o 

Overthrow of Ibi-Sin ...... 47 r 
Contemporary laments . . * . . . .472 

^Chedorlaomer* and G-encs;s xiv . f . .473 
New Sumerian activity ..*.... 474 

An Amorite raid .*..,..*. 476 
The wars of Gnngunurn - . , , * . , 477 
Larsa ........... 478 

The First Dynasty of Babylon . , , .479 



Relations with Larsa and Isln . . . * , . .480 
Defeat of Larsa by Elam . , - . . . . 483 

Elamlte kings. ....... 484 

Rim-Sin's successes against Isin . . . . , .485 

Fight for Isin and Larsa . . . . . . . .486 

III, HAMMURABI .......... 487 

Conquest of Elam ......... 488 

Temple and other works . . , . . . , .489 
Campaigns in the north ........ 490 

His law-code ......... 492 

Extent of his empire ........ 493 



I. THE COUNTRY .......... 494 

Communications by water . . . . . . .495 

Ships and houses ......... 497 

The date-palm ......... 499 

Animals and birds . . . . , . . . .500 

The Tigris .......... 501 

II. BABYLON . 503 

Plan . 504 

Nebuchadrezzar's buildings . . . * . . .505 
Tower of Babel 508 


The patesis 509 

Judicial procedure . . . . . . . . . 5 11 

The levy 514 

Capital offences, penalties . . . - . . .516 

Social castes " . . . -5*8 

Slavery 520 


Matrimony . . . . . . . . .523 

Divorce and adultery . * , * . . . .524 

Children and inheritance . . . . - . .526 

Loans ........... 528 

V. RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS . - . . . - * * 529 

The gods 529 

Religious beliefs . . . . . . . . -53* 

The temple and its staff 532 

Priestesses and temple- women , . ... . . .536 


The crops -54* 

Food 543 

Coinage, metals and pottery . . . . ,.545 

A love-letter ........ * 547 

Burial . * . . 54 8 

Myths and legends * . - . . , % 55 







The Kassites and their language . . - * . 553 

The kings of the Sea-country 555 

Their advance . . . . - - * - 5 $7 

Abeshu' and his artificial Hoods . . . . . 558 

A Hittite raid - .561 

Decline of Babylonia . . . . * * ,562 

II. THE KASSITE DYNASTY . . . . . . . -5^3 

Internal conditions . . . . . - . .564 

Religion and art . . . . * . . .567 

Prelude to the 'Amania Age' 568 



I. EGYPTIAN ART ..,..* . 570 

Use of naetals . * * - , . . fc 571 

Archaic art . . . . - . . * , * 573 

Portraiture * , . ,,574 

Small art .....*,*. 576 


Prehistoric pottery . * . , . . . , .578 

The Gebel el~Arak knife-handle . , . . . .580 

Use of stone t . * . . . . . . 582 

II L BABYLONrrAN ART . . . . . . , * 5 84 

The copper lions of el-*Obeid * * , . , ,585 

Relations with the west * . . * m ^ 



I. CRETE . . . . . 589 

Transition to Earty Minoan Age . , coo 

Conditions ... * . . SOI 

Middle Minoan Age . . * * 593 

The script . . , JQ j 

Palaces of Cnossus and Phaestus . ^ * 595 

Middle Minoan culture . . * * . 596 

Transition to Late Minoan , . * 



II. T,PE_CYCLADES * . . 599 

Earl/ Cycladic culture 
Relations with Crete 


Early Helladic Period 
Middle Helladic Period . 
Minyan ware 
Cretan influence 


First Thessalian Period . 

Second Period 

Third Period 

First and second cities of Troy , 

Supremacy of Crete 

Appearance of Mycenae . 




Chapters I and II ............ 619 

Chapter III 625 

Chapter IV 628 

Chapter V 630 

Chapter VI 636 

Chapter VII 637 

Chapter VIII 640 

Chapter IX 643 

Chapters X-XI1 645 

Chapter XIII 649 

Chapter XIV 651 

Chapter XV 652 

Chapter XVI 653 

Chapter XVII 655 





KINGDOMS, c. 3 500-1 580 B.C 661 


GENERAL INDEX . . , . . . - .676 




1, Stages in the growth of Land-masses , , , , FACING 16 

2, The Ice Age , 48 

3, Zones of Vegetation, to illustrate sequence of climatic regions 64 

4, Olive, Vine and Orange Areas of the Mediterranean , 64 

5, Principal Neolithic cultures no 

6, Europe showing the principal lines of Early Bronze Aje 

Intercourse no 

7, Trade-routes of Hither Asia ^224 

8, Egypt 324 

9, Babylonia, stowing the sites of Ancient Cities, , , ^ 400 

10, Babylonia, Assyria and Mesopotamia , , , . 4/14 

n. Syria, Assyria and Babylonia 566 

12, Map to illustrate Early Aegean culture , , , , ,. 614 

Plan of Babylon , 504 



TflSTORY, in its common and more popular sense, is the 
JLJl $tudy of Man's dealings with other men, and the adjust- 
ment of working relations between human groups. But there is a 
larger sense, in which Human History merges in Natural History, 
and aludieS the dealings of Man with Nature; and it may be ob- 
served that it has been only by slow degrees that any human group 
has attained to such vision of the unity of mankind, or of civiliza- 
tion, as might constrain it to regard other human groups as more 
than a peculiarly intractable element in its own natural surround- 
ings. An austere conception of War that under certain circum- 
stances Right has no court of appeal but Might survives to 
remind us that Man has not yet wholly rid himself of this con- 
fusion between things and alien persons; and the most modern 
conception of international right so far accepts this fact of an 
alienation between the higher functions of human groups, however 
reasonable, as to take differences of language of the medium, 
that is, for interchange and reconciliation of ideas, as the best 
guide when and where, for the present, it is safer to keep human 
groups apart, and let them manage their affairs as far as possible 
each in their own way. 

History, in the narrowest sense of all, as the interpretation of 
written evidence for arrangements made for right living within a 
human group, or between such groups, accepts implicitly the same 
criterion, and stops short where such evidence is not available. 
Linguistic P a ^ a 525|^^y: goes a little further back, in the study of 
the distnf^^ groups, and of such relations 

between them as loan-words, or structural likenesses in the speech, 
mgy suggest. But the spoken word does not fall to the ground, 
like the spent missile or the broken vessel, to be its own memorial 
of human achievement: it vanishes in air, so that the philologist 
deals not with originals, but at best with the reminiscence of an 
echo. To recover, therefore, what men were doing, or maKliig, 
still more what they were thinking or desiring, befofe the dawn 
of history, the sole available method is that of the archaeologist, 



merging as it does In that of the geologist : since these alone^ handle 
and interpret original creations of men's thought and will, and 
contemporary elements of the physical surroundings of those men. 
Where the tree falls, there shall it lie, and where the lost implement 
or shattered potsherd, or worn-out man fell, there have they lain, 
for all that any one cared then, or knows now. It is the careless- 
ness (in the literal sense) of the river as to the gravel which it 
carried, and an equal carelessness of those men as to what 
happened to their leavings., that justify such a hypothesis of the 
credibility of these data, and make prehistoric times at least a 
penumbra of history, ^ ^ 

"TSfor"are we compelled any longer by prejudice or authority to 
regard those times as catastrophically short, any more than we 
must believe that Rome was built in a day. Man's prehistory 
merges in the pageant of the animal world, and of the planet-wide 
arena on which it has been in progress. Mountain and sea-basin 
too have their history. Their geographical distribution has varied 
in immemorial years; the faith that can remove mountains is the 
same in kind as that in which the historian brings together armies 
and frontiers, 'bone to his bone/ showing *all the kingdoms of 
the world in a moment of time/ Such 'historical* geography 
and 'historical' ethnology are a proper prelude to the history of 
the ancient world; and much, even within that history, cannot 
fully be understood without them. Ancient peoples come upon 
the stage of history, not all together, but in a certain order, and by 
their proper entrances; each with a character and make-up con- 
gruous with the part they will play* The pageant or is it the 
drama ? of history presupposes the formation of that character, 
and its equipment, in the green-room of the remoter past; and the 
sketch of the growth of initial 'cultures,* which follows now, is 
intended, like the hypothesis of a Greek play, to describe how men 
came by those qualities of build and temperament, those aims in 
life, atid the means wherewith they were attempting to achieve 
them. For, to the student of prehistory, a * culture is nothing 
more or less than this the total equipment with which each gene- 
ration of men starts on its career, in whatever external conditions; 
to the archaeologist, no less, it is literally that equipment whirh 
the men of each generation were discarding, when they and it 
respectively ceased t6 be of Significant use. 

To see how the stage itself was set for this pageant, we must 
look back beyond the moment "when the first characters enter it. 
For it has been Nature, rather than Man, hitherto, in almost every 
scene* that has determined where 'the action shall He* Only at a 

I, n] 'NATURE 5 AND 'MAN 3 3 

comparatively late phase of that action 3 does Man in some measure 
shift t*he scenery for himself, 

* And by Nature and Man are here meant neither supernatural 
force nor superhuman design, altering the arrangement of us and 
our surroundings like chessmen on a board. Nature, adopted in 
our speech from Latin natura^ an unlucky mistranslation of Greek 
$>vcn^ stands as a common and inclusive term for all 'physical' 
events that happen; its Greek original being a verbal substantive 
signifying the fact of growth, the 'way things grow/ the mere 
processes of a world as apprehended by a mind. It has nothing to 
do, SB its Latin antecedents might suggest, either with birth or 
any sort of coming-into-being; nor with any question 'what shall 
it be in the end thereof ?* These are matters outside * natural 9 
history and human history alike. All history is the mere study of 
processes, of the 'way things grow* in the old Greek sense; for to 
this, modern thought has laboriously but unequivocally reverted > 
after long preoccupation with beginnings and endings, with cos- 
mogony and eschatology of all kinds, in the centuries between 
Greek science and our own. 

Within this Nature, so presented as a process or coherent 
sequence of occurrences, and so far as we know (by inference of 
me and you, each from experience of the rest of us corporeally 
participant in what goes on) a part of this Nature, stands Man, 
perceiving what goes on, learning what that is, conceiving it 
as alterable by inventive effort, and striving accordingly, with 
experience of what we call results, great or small, of that strife. 

By Man, then, in what follows, is meant the collective total of 
such perceiving, learning, inventing, striving and experiencing 
* selves/ myself and yours and theirs. By races of men, are meant 
groups and sequences of such selves linked by corporeal similari- 
ties propagated by natural process within each group: by peoples 
or nations^ groups of selves exhibiting peculiarities of interpreta- 
tion, invention, and effort sufficiently similar for their results to be 
cumulative and coherent; and by cultures or civilizations the accu- 
mulated and coherent results of such similarities in the activity of 
selves like you and me. 


The stage of human history is a wide one from the firs|.;;vieii 
disregarding those varieties of man in inner Asia i or r jcjg3ferial 
Africa which come latest and most incidentally iB~to,^i :: S|ory ? the 
stage even of ancient history is the whole home offieP ''white races/ 


from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Persian plateaux, from 
the Sahara to the Baltic; the north-western quadrant of the? land- 
mass of the Old World, 

To understand even the actual configuration of this area, some 
of which Is very complicated still more, to understand the changes 
which have occurred in the form and extent of the land-masses 
since they have been inhabited by man we must review the whole 
series of events which have resulted in the formation of the present 
European peninsula, of the sea-basins which lie north and south 
of it, and also of its eastward continuation into Hither Asia, a 
similarly constituted highland with comparatively low-lying* flat- 
lands to north and to south. For, if we trace this series of events 
far enough back, we reach, at all events, the more immediate 
reasons for those strongly marked contrasts in the composition 
and structure of Its rocks, which have so profoundly affected the 
habitability and human prosperity of each component region, 
through the peculiar distribution of its plants and animals, and 
eventually of its breeds of Man. 

Herodotus, attempting to summarize the contrast between the 
northern flatland and the Aegean cradle of the Greeks, describes 
Scythia as a land where there are no earthquakes and they grow 
corn for sale. That immensity of arable is itself the corollary of 
the flatland's long immunity from geological stress, and its accu- 
mulation of successive sediments, as sea-floor or dusty desert. The 
recurring earthquakes in Greece and Italy, through ancient and 
modern times, are sufficient evidence that the process of mountain 
building is not yet complete, and the rarity and discontinuity of 
cultivable soils illustrate the dislocation and wear-and-tear inci- 
dental to such a process. The catastrophic geology of Genesis and 
the Psalms voices the same experience of Nature's workings among 
a people of the Nearer East. Let us summarize, then, the main 
course of that period of planetary history, within which the history 
of Man is one of the more recent episodes. 

The chalk which composes the 'white walls' of England, the 
massive limestones of the 'hills which stand about Jerusalem/ and 
the similar grey limestone which gives its wilder grace to the land- 
scape of Greece, were formed by deposition on the floor of a gret 
sea which, covered all, and more than all, of the stage on which 
history has played its greatest drama hitherto. This sea, to which 
geologists give the picturesque name of *Tethjy/ belongs to the 
second of the three great schemes of oceans and continents, whose 
distribution can be distinguished in the long course of the earth's 
history. It had taken shape as the result of that period of violent 


planetary convulsion which closed the * primary* phase, and its 
q^liteSration, with the exception of the Mediterranean Pontic- 
Caspian, and Caribbean basins, marks the change from the 
'secondary' to the 'tertiary' in which human history is the most 
recent episode. Unliie the modern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans of 
the * tertiary' phase, which (whatever their breadth) extend from 
the Arctic to the Antarctic circle, Tethys had its greatest diameter 
from east to west, and was comparatively narrow from north to 
south. Eastward it abutted on an ancient s Angara' continent, of 
whi^h the solid core lay in north-eastern Asia, with more recent 
extensions further south: westward it opened into a Pacific Ocean. 
Southward it was bounded by another ancient continent, 'Gpnd- 
wana-lan^L,' which had once extended in one vast oblong from 
weat of South America to east of Australia, but was already foun- 
dering in places, so that growing gulfs in its southern margin were 
separating South America from South Africa, and South Africa 
from Australia; first symptoms of the South Atlantic and Indian 
Oceans that were to be. Similar collapse of its northern margin 
allowed the waters of Tethys to form a deep bay between Brazil 
and Morocco ; and a long gulf between East Africa, on the one 
hand, and, on the other, a 'I^muxian^ peninsula connecting South 
Africa through Madagascar with peninsular India. Both of these 
eventually broke clean through to meet the southern gulfs, and 
insulated South America and ' Lemuria* for ever* Round the north 
end of 'Lemuria/ there was in due course open sea between 
Tethys and the new Indian Ocean; and meanwhile the rise of 
the first mountain structure of south-eastern Asia connected the 
Australian fragment of old 'Gondwana' with the southward ap- 
pendages of * Angara-land,* so that a single continent extended 
from Arctic Siberia to New Zealand. 

Northward, * Tethys' had probably sea-passage, of uncertain 
and perhaps varying width, to an Arctic Ocean, between 'Angara- 
land' and Scandinavia, one of the oldest and most massive 
corner-stones of the whole fabric. West of this again, between 
Scandinavia and Britain, a narrower strait extended far north, and 
perhaps reached the same Arctic Ocean. Beyond this, the rugged 
Caledonian highlands of Britain stood outpost on the eastern 
margin of a 'Laurentian* continent. The south coast of ' 
probably crossed the north Atlantic along the modern 
bulging then southward round the nascent Appalachian ch 
retreating northward near the Pacific coast of North ^A^S^c^ till 
it approached (or even joined) eastern * Aftgara^fflS'l^eyond the 
north Pacific, All north of this coastline seems 01 have been solid 


land, with Greenland and Labrador at its core; but from time to 
time a wide lakeland covered the * middle west' of North AiAerica. 

Round these ancient shores, under the influence of solar heat, 
the general planetary circulation of winds and sea-currents played 
then as now. The resulting climates however were different, by 
reason of the shape of the sea-basins, and the altitude of the land- 
masses. In particular, the long trough of 'Tethys/ lying wholly in 
north temperate atid subtropical latitudes, and landlocked towards 
the north from Mexico to Scandinavia, served like the Medi- 
terranean of to-day, but on a vaster scale to mitigate and aspimi- 
late in an exceptional degree the climates of its foreshores, and still 
more those of its islands. 

For though most of 'Tethys* was open water, a lar/*e region 
between north Africa and Scandinavia was broken by large is- 
lands, ruinous fragments of continents older still, like Scandinavia 
itself, and the Caledonian highlands, Snowdonia, atid the Malvern 
and Mendip Hills, imbedded in the margin of *Laurentia.* One 
such forms now the plateau core of Spain and Portugal; Sardinia, 
Corsica, Elba, and the rugged *toe ? of Italy are peaks of another, 
which we may call * Tyrrhenia*; the Caucasus, the Bohemian high* 
land, the Ardennes, are others, round whose skirts old shingle- 
banks and other shore deposits replace the clean limestones 
characteristic of the greater depths. So early in the history of the 
planet was the site of our European and Mediterranean region con- 
spicuous for its abnormalities, and its juxtaposition of old and new. 

The * tertiary* period of crust-history, which is still in progress 
for the term * Quaternary, 1 signifying those recent phases when 
Man's presence can be demonstrated, is a needless concession to 
self-esteem is characterized, like its * primary * and * secondary * 
predecessors, by vast readjustments of the crust, breaking up the 
Laurentian and Indo-African continents, and crumpling the cre- 
taceous sea-bed of 'Tethys* into a series of elevated ridges* These 
folds result; from two series of lateral stresses. The one, thrusting 
outwards from Angara-land to east, south and west, has caused a 
series of southward-bulging * arcs' (like the rucks in a tablecloth 
when a heavy book is pushed across it) which define the present 
continent of Asia* Such arcs form the half-submerged island*- 
chains, Aleutian, Kurile, Japanese, Lu-chu; the grand sweep 
through Burma, and the Malay peninsula with its insular pro- 
longation to the Moluccas; the Himalayan range and the Hindu- 
Kush; the Iranian arc which traverses Baluchistan, south and west 
Pefsia, and Kurdistan; and further west, the Tauric and Dinaric 
systems which bound respectively Asia Minor on the south* and 


the Balkan peninsula on the west,, as far as the head of the Adri- 
atic. Then follows the southward and westward-bulging Atlas 
range, and its prolongation into south-eastern Spain. Within these 
outer arcs rise other folds obviously concentric with them, most 
easily recognizable in north-eastern Asia, and behind the Hima- 
laya, but perceptible also in Iran and northern Asia Minor. Be- 
tween the folds, lie less crumpled areas, at higher or lower levels. 
The plateau of Tibet stands now at over 1 5,000 ft., the Tarim 
basin at over 3000 ft., and the core of Asia Minor at about xooo ft. 
above the sea; the Behring, Japan, and China Seas, on the other 
hand^have bottom at 12,0009000 ft. down; the Gulf of Oman at 
6000 ft., and the southern lobe of the Caspian at about 2000 ft* 
Similarly, outside each greater arc, the margin of old Gondwana- 
land*has been forced down and under, in the Bay of Bengal, in the 
Persian Gulf, where the whole of Arabia has been tilted like an 
ill-laid paving slab -and in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, 
where the north African foreland has been fractured stepwise, so 
that, while the Libyan shore is beset with quicksands, the greatest 
depths are off the Peloponnese and Rhodes. 

The folds of the other series result not from southward but from 
northward thrusts, and overhang similarly sunken * forelands,' this 
time on their northern side. Examples are the Altai range between 
Mongolia and western Siberia, the Caucasus, and the whole 
Alpine series, Balkans, Carpathians, Alps, and Pyrenees. The 
course of these European folds is complicated by several factors, 
chief among which is the presence of those older lands already 
mentioned, both north of the Alpine folds, in Bohemia, the Black 
Forest and Vosges, and the Auvergne, and within the folded 
area, as in Spain, *Tyrrhenia,' and Hungary; the stubbornness of 
which has not merely accentuated the transverse amplitude and 
overfolding of the ridges themselves, but has compressed them 
lengthways into the 2, -shape presented now by the Carpathians 
and Balkans and caused the spiral distortion of the Pyrenees, Alps, 
Apennines, Atlas, and the Spanish-Balearic arc. 

Finally, local relaxations of these strains brought about the 
collapse of whole regions of the crust, either parallel to the 
trend of the folded arcs, or transversely. Examples of longitudinal 
subsidence are the Black Sea and southern Caspian, carrying away 
both ends of the Caucasus and another great segment of mountain 
range between the Crimea and the Balkans : another is the Adriatic, 
nipped between the Dinaric arc and the Apennines* ^fraft&Verse 
fracture and collapse are illustrated, within the mass of 013 Angara- 
land, by the long * trough-fault' or 'rift yall^' df the Red Sea, 


which Is prolonged between Crete and Rhodes right across the 
junction of the Dinaric and Tauric arcs, submerging the Aegean 
archipelago, and breaking down a shattered trough through 
Macedonia and Serbia to the Hungarian plain. A branch of this 
same rift forking west across the Dinaric folds depressed the 
Gulf of Corinth; another diverging eastward further south forms 
the Gulf of Akaba, the Dead Sea, and the trough of Code-Syria, 
and may be traced far athwart Armenia. All these are only 
classical examples of the main types of crust movement to which 
the tertiary transformations of old * Tethys' are due. 

Crust-movements of such amplitude occupied a vast period of 
time. And all the while, rainfall and frost were^denuding and dis- 
secting the land surfaces; rivers were transporting the debris, and 
depositing it in lake basins and coastal seas; limestones and fharls 
were accumulated in deeper waters; and at times along the lines 
of severest distortion and fracture, volcanic matter was discharged 
molten from beneath* 

Principal stages in this tertiary derangement of what had been 
the cretaceous sea-bottom of Tethys may be summarized as fol- 
lows. Their importance for us, over and above their contribution 
to the actual distribution of land and water, of mountains and 
plains, is that in conjunction with the changes of climate resulting 
from such rearrangement of lands and seas,, they have restricted or 
extended the regions which this or that type of vegetation could 
occupy, and the range of the animal forms which such vegetation 
fed, and so contributed in due course to localize and differentiate 
the main varieties of Man* 

Foldings and upheavals of the old sea-floor began earliest, as 
they have since reached their greatest amplitude, eastward in the 
heart of Asia, where the Himalaya, Kuen-lun andTienshan ranges, 
with the plateaux of Tibet and Mongolia uplifted between them, 
intervene between Angara-land and the * Leirmrian* sub-continent, 
of which only fragments soon remained, represented by Madagas- 
car and peninsular India. Elsewhere too during this stage there 
was widespread exposure of the sea-floor; especially along that 
east-and-west axis of upheaval which eventually becomes the 
'Highland^Zone* of western Asia and southern Europe. Anl 
without being elevated, many of the remaining sea-basins dried up 
altogether, leaving vast deposits of salt and gypsum, like those 
which are forming now in the waste heart of Persia, 

Renewed submergence followed, from the westward ocean* as 
far south as Kordofan, and as far east as Khorasan* But the Hindu- 
Kush and Iranian arc barred off for ever from Tethys its old south- 


ward gulf; and a mere bulging of the African continent cut off the 
eljj uf "depression in western Sahara from what we may now begin 
to call the Midland Sea; for it is the first phase of the Mediterra- 
nean of to-day. But the fauna and flora of the lands which were 
appearing now along the line of the Alpine folds were still essenti- 
ally of such Indo-African type as had spread thither during the 
period of exposure. And such they long remained; for these 
lands were mainly Insular, and as the Laurentian continent still 
limited the Atlantic northwards not far from the line joining 
Newfoundland to Cornwall, the oceanic currents which bathed 
their ^shores maintained a subtropical climate, warm, moist, and 

Furthe^ folding and upheaval of the western arcs extended and 
consolidated the mountain zone of the Nearer East as a long pro- 
montory connecting the high plateaux of Asia with these mid- 
European islands, and these again with the British promontory of 
Laurentia, along the very ancient line of folding represented by 
the Ardennes and the Mendips. The result was to bisect the Mid- 
land Sea into a southern or 'Mediterranean' and a northern or 
*Sarmatian* basin, which henceforth have separate histories until 
almost modern times. A further result was that the sinuous Apen- 
nine-Atlas ridge encircled a -'West Mediterranean' basin, which 
though it communicated usually with both the Atlantic and the 
East Mediterranean, was occasionally cut off from both, and in 
late Miocene times was so much reduced by evaporation that none 
of its deposits of that age are now above water level. There was 
therefore ample communication between the new mid-Europe and 
the Moroccan lobe of the old Africa* 

The East Mediterranean long retained much of the character 
of its predecessor the Midland Sea, The highland arcs along its 
north border included Crete and Cyprus; the Adriatic had not yet 
SLink outside these arcs, nor the Aegean within them. The moun- 
tains of Media and Elam were still very imperfectly developed, 
and the Arabian slab of Gondwana-land had not yet been frac- 
tured or even tilted under their stresses. The southern border of 
this sea lay therefore far to the southward across Africa, from a 
Moroccan Gulf, south of Atlas, to Abyssinia, Hadramaut, and the 
mountain ridge of Oman; with an easterly gulf extending far Into 
Iran* It was separated however from all seas to the south-east, as 
its marine fauna show, by the ridge already mentioned connecting 
the Asiatic with the African continent. Occasionally disconnected 
from the Atlantic by elevation of the lands round tb^ttfestern basin, 
it underwent repeated phases of evaporation; stud Indo-African 


plants and animals still occupied its northern margins^ leaving 
their remains for example in Sanies and Attica, "* 

The northern or Sarmatian Sea had a similar though separate 
history. It extended repeatedly far east> to lake Balkash and the 
foothills of Altai and Tienshan, and far north round the base of 
the Urals, an old ridge accentuated by the same tertiary stresses 
as the mountain-zone which bounded this basin on the south. 
Caucasus was sometimes insulated, but usually formed part of its 
southern margin, with only gulfs or lakes outflanking it south- 
ward. Westward communication with the Atlantic was interrupted 
earlier, oftener, and more completely than in the Mediterranean 
area, thanks to the growing intimacy between Mid-Europe and 
those ridges and stacks of old land which we have seen ^embedded 
in the Laurentian foreshore. Between the rising Alps and- the 
Bohemian and mid-German highlands a long gulf remained^ or 
in high-and-dry periods a drainage basin which we may already 
call 'Danubian*, but the strong northward and outward bulge of 
the Carpathians eventually cut off these lowlands and the sunken 
Hungarian basin, to form inland lakes. An outlet through the 
Iron Gates to the Pontic basin cannot be demonstrated till later. 

As the land-masses of Mid-Europe and also of North Africa and 
Western Asia increased in extent, the climate of the whole region 
became drier: the c Sarmatian' sea shrank into a * Pontic* scries of 
lakes, connected only by flood channels, if at all, but including 
then a region so far to the south-west as the present north Aegean* 
Eventually one of the deep fiver valleys, which dissected the ex- 
posed Sarmatian sea-floor, cut back into the high ground in the 
re-entrant angle between the Carpathians and Balkans, opened a 
new outlet for the waters of the Hungarian and Bavarian basins 
already mentioned, and created the Danubian drainage system. In 
this period also a long trough, faulted across Mid-Europe^ deter- 
mined the upper basin of the eventual Rhine, though it was long 
before this lakeland was tapped, like the Danubian, by a river 
cutting back from the north through the old Taunus highland from 
Coblenz to Bingetl, 

The same period of uprise and continental climate affected the 
Mediterranean also. The rising escarpment of Media and Elam cr.t 
off its Iranian gulf, which became silted, first with river deposits* 
then, as its waters evaporated, with a crust of salt and gypsum. 
And as the folded escarpment rose, very steep and lofty, the 
foreland in front of it to the south-west was forced down and 
under, till the great quadrangular slab which we call Arabia was 
snapped off" from Africa > and tilted bodily, downwards at the foot 


of the new Zagros range, but with a free broken edge upreared to 
wqptwatJrd, and long troughs of dislocation and subsidence between 
itself and the African continent. The Red Sea trough opened for 
long into the Mediterranean, like the Nile trough to the west of 
it; but was closed at its south end by the main ridge from Asia to 
East Africa. 

Further north, the same fractures crossed the Mediterranean 
floor, so that the free edge of the Arabian slab, or rather the de- 
tached strip of it which forms the Lebanon range, was thencefor- 
ward the eastward limit of that sea. The movement, violent as it 
appears in retrospect, was however gradual, and progressed from 
south to north so that the drainage basin formed on the tilted slab 
remained Connected with the Mediterranean through North Syria, 
and fee Jordan valley, lying in a smaller and earlier rift than that 
of the Red Sea and for long a tributary of a great river system of 
north-eastern Africa, still contains species in common with the 
Nile and the Euphrates* But, in time, Mesopotamia too became a 
separate basin like Iran, accumulating its own river sediments, and 
in dry periods its beds of salt and gypsum. 

The gradual coherence of new land-masses where the Tethys 
basin had been, and the restricted communication between the 
remaining seas and the Atlantic, affected the climate of the whole 
region profoundly and adversely, and the fauna and flora were 
modified accordingly. Surviving representatives of the first occu- 
pants of tertiary Europe are now only recognizable in the Malay 
zoological region, and to some extent in tropical west Africa. 
For our present purpose we need only note that it Is in these two 
regions alone that the great anthropoids, gorilla and orang-utan, 
survive; that it is certain that various monkeys, and probable 
that creatures ancestral to Man, were among these * Malayan * 
occupants of mid-Europe; that the most * simian* varieties of Man 
himself, the dwarfish, heavy-jawed, and long-armed Negritos, have 
a similarly discontinuous distribution surviving only in central 
Africa, in Malaya and beyond, and to sorae extent ijp^sputhern 
India; and further, that the only creatures really intermediate be- 
tween these and the anthropoids, are Pithecanthropus from a deposit 
considerably later in Java and the Broken Hill skull from Rhodesia, 
It is not without reason, therefore, that search has been made for 
human handiwork, even in eocepe and miocgae beds. But^tjbfii; 
* eoliths* collected in Belgium from miocene deposits h^^etiibt 
yet been generally accepted as such: those from graves ililing 
the sides of the present Nile valley are rather betft^jrtS^te'd, but 
must still be viewed with reserve. 


As the climate became less favourable, the Malayan fauna gave 
place in the north-west to characteristically * African' types, which 
persisted in the new European (or rather *Eurafrican') region 
until the close of the Pontic stage. Then, rather abruptly,, and very 
widely, this * African' fauna was itself replaced by new forms, dis- 
tinctly 'Arctic/ advancing apparently from that Laurentian con- 
tinent which had existed all the while west of Britain, and prob- 
ably had extended also far eastward beyond Scandinavia as the 
Sarmatian sea evaporated; since similar 'Arctic' forms can be traced 
penetrating Asia too, as far as its Himalayan crest* The * African' 
withdrawal was of course gradual and unequal ; typical forms sur- 
vived in Bessarabia, for instance, later than elsewhere, and Spits- 
bergen and Greenland still had magnolias and plane-tpees during 
the Pontic phase. Within the folded zone, especially, there were 
secluded regions favourable to the survival of the old warmth- 
loving forms. The progressive folding of maturer mountain-ranges, 
and the development of more recent folds, such as the Apennines 
and the Jura, accentuated this subdivision of the north-western or 
* Eurafrican ' land-mass. 

A fresh period of submergence follows, probably due to relaxa- 
tion of the folding stresses, and collapse of ill-supported blocks, 
The British promontory of Laurentia, and probably the whole 
southern seaboard of that continent, began to give way, so that 
the Atlantic ocean, which had long ago been extended southwards 
from Tethys to the Antarctic, spread northwards now into cooler 
latitudes. Since some of these sinking areas for example, the 
Aquitanian region of France adjoined the west Mediterranean, 
Atlantic marine fauna had access once more to the Mediterranean 
basins. As the water surface of these seas increased, the climate 
became moister, and the weathering of the highlands and main 
river valleys more destructive. It is in this period that the drainage 
systems of the lower Rhine, the Seine and other rivers of the 
English Channel, the Loire, Garonne and Guadalquivir, and the 
Wady Draa, south of the Moroccan Atlas, were established, in 
deep-lying gulfs; the Rhpne is another example of drainage con- 
sequent on such subsidence. 

Further east, the Aegean depression, already noted, began Qo 
admit Mediterranean waters to basins hitherto belonging to the 
Pontic lake-system. The Pontic region, too, receiving ample rain- 
fall once more, regained its old continuity from the Carpathians 
as far as lake Baikal. The trough-valley of the Nile was being 
opened, as we have already seen, as far south as Assuan, and re- 
ceived copious drainage from the high west edge of the Arabian 


slab; the first fractures had begun along the line of the Red Sea, 
and the remains of considerable lakes in the Dead Sea and Orontes 
region suggest similar subsidences further north. The Mesopo- 
tamian basin was by this time quite cut off from the Mediterranean 
by the tilting of Arabia, though the barrier from Lebanon north- 
ward was of no great width or height. When the tilting movement 
came to a crisis, and Arabia broke away from the African con- 
tinent, the Red Sea trough opened first as a gulf of the Mediter- 
ranean. But the foundering of the next block south of Arabia 
admitted the waters of the 'Indian 1 Ocean into this gulf from the 
south; 'and a similar inbreak through the Hormuz strait converted 
the Mesopotamian lake, which had formed along the sunk eastern 
edge of Arabia, into a ' Persian gulf of the same southern ocean, 
extenfiing all along the foothills of Zagros, and also towards Anti- 
Taurus, and Anti-Lebanon. In this fashion, while the Mediter- 
ranean remained limited eastward almost at its present shoreline, 
the whole region between it and the Iranian plateau became almost 
wholly separated from what remained of old Gondwana-land, both 
in peninsular India and in east Africa, with a new and narrow 
isthmus, twice constricted, at Suez and north of the Lebanon, 
instead of the old broad land-avenue from Iran to Abyssinia. 

The consequence of this separation will be seen to be of the 
utmost importance, when we consider the distribution of Man, 
and of the modern fauna and flora generally; for it is with the 
severance of Africa from southern Asia, on the one hand, and 
the replacement on the other of ' African * plants and animals 
north of the Mediterranean by northern forms from Scandinavia 
and the Laurentian foreshores about Britain, that the modern 
period of tertiary time may fairly be said to begin. 

It will be evident from what precedes, that by this time not only 
Europe but the whole north-west quadrant of the Old World 
land-mass had been shaped approximately to its modern propor- 
tions : only the precise distribution of sea and lake over the shal- 
lower hollows in its surface being liable to shift, according as either 
the land rose or sank locally, or the supply of moisture varied over 
its landlocked basins. The broad features of this large group of 
regions, the eventual home of the 'white races* of man, may there- 
fore be summarized in modern geographical terms. It consists, 
essentially, of the Alpine 'folded highland/ whose structure ai^ 
conformation we have been tracing, bounded both northward^Scl 
southward by abrupt outward slopes overlooking depr^^i btit 
undisturbed and level * forelands/ Included wi^^f'^iife ' folded 
region are numerous plateaux more or less ^le ( vatdy and more or 


less buried under later sediments- And westward;* where the 
Alpine folds fade away towards the foreshores of the new Atlantic 
Ocean, and around the British remnants of Laurentia, now de- 
tached,, there is a * continental shelf of varying width, and liable 
to moderate oscillations of level. 

Three main regions are therefore to be distinguished here: 
(i) the Highland Zone itself; (2) its Northern Foreland, from the 
North Sea to the foothills of Tienshan and Altai, with its south- 
eastern half liable to be submerged in *Sarmatian* or *Ponto~ 
Caspian * lakes; (3) its Southern Foreland, from Morocco to 
Mesopotamia, continuous and undisturbed at a fairly high average 
level in latitudes remote from the Highland Zone; more broken and 
depressed further north, till its fractured slabs sink beneath the 
waters of the Persian Gulf, the east Mediterranean, and the lake 
region of southern Tunis. As already described, it is by no geo- 
logical accident that the west Mediterranean basin lies north, not 
south, of the Atlas folds; within the Highland Zone, that is, not 
adjacent to it like the eastern basin, 

The later history of these three principal regions must be traced 
separately, if only because the altitude of the Highland Zone has 
long been sufficient to give it a markedly cooler and moister climate 
than either of the Flatlands; so that its greater rainfall has sculp- 
tured it very deeply, and wrought upon its surface abrupt and 
complicated scenery of mountain and valley; the varied rocks thus 
exposed contributing directly, and still more (by their detritus) 
indirectly, to accentuate local differences in the soils and eventual 
flora of each drainage area. As its limits lie obliquely from north- 
west to south-east between latitude 50 in central Europe and 
2 5 in south Persia, the larger changes of climate have affected its 
main regions serially from one extremity to the other. Its uplands 
have been sufficiently continuous at most periods to permit the 
spread and withdrawal of consecutive types of vegetation; yet the 
deep engraving of its passes has permitted the transmission of 
comparatively lowland flora from one basin to another* And what 
is evident for vegetation applies equally to all animals which are 
susceptible to changes of climate and food supply* 

This Highland Zone 3 then, may conveniently be regarded, Aa 
its main characters, as a single geographical region. Frequently 
and for long periods, it has been a promontory based on central 
Asia, or a long isthmus, connecting a south-eastern continent 
with a wide and old land in the north-west. At all times its upland 
conformation, moister climate, and denser forest vegetation have 
secluded it from the Flatlands on either flank. In so far as there 


has been interaction. It has been the Highland which has had the 
initiative; because in periods of excessive moisture it has been from 
the" foothills of the Highland that forest has spread over adjacent 
plains; whereas in periods of drought, the extension of steppe con- 
ditions into the foothills has been retarded by the residual rainfall 
around the heights. Only by glaciation, It would seem., could the 
Highland vegetation be devastated from within, and even so under 
the most favourable conditions for reoccupatlon from the less frost- 
bitten highlands continuous with it to the south-east. And as we 
shall see in due course, such glacial devastation did actually occur, 
between the close of the pleistocene period and the beginning of 
our own. 

North of the Highland Zone lies the Northern Flatland. It is 
alm*t featureless from Altai and Tienshan to the Baltic and 
North Sea; except for the narrow transverse fold of the Ural range, 
which however fades away southward before reaching latitude 5*0. 
But beyond those almost accidental depressions of its western 
margin, which form our 'narrow seas,' this Flatland Is limited by 
two considerable mountain-masses, Scandinavian and British, of 
great age and stability; and beyond these to the north-west ex- 
tended formerly a long arm of that old Lauren tlan continent which 
still encircled the north Atlantic, long after it had ceased to occupy 
it; and it was probably the subsidence of this Laurentian land 
(represented now by the * Wyville-Thomson Ridge, * on the ocean 
floor from Britain to Iceland and Greenland) and the circumstance 
that the breach of continuity lay west and not east of the Scandi- 
navian and British mountain ranges and involved general redistri- 
bution of currents between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, that 
determined the profound changes of climate to which allusion has 
already been made (p. 12). 

Of secondary importance are the minor oscillations which deter- 
mined whether the northern parts of the Flatland, east and west 
of the Ural divide, should be above or below water; and thereby 
assigned to the remainder, and to the whole north face of the 
Highland Zone, a climate either moist enough to fill the Sarmatian 
depression with lakes or a sea, or dry enough to exhaust this re- 
servoir and reduce the whole northern Flatland to a cold desert as 
Inhospitable as the hot desert on the south side, to which we tutu 

The southern or Eurafrlcan Flatland Is almost as simple ,ift its 
main features as the northern, and far more uniform in defSalL As 
this region lies within the planetary trade-wind b$l&$!itiS devoid 
of abruptly folded ridges which might precipitate ra,lia^ except the 


Atlas to the north, which belongs to the folded Mountain Zone, 
and the highlands of Nigeria and Abyssinia, it has always been 
less well watered than the regions north and south of it, which are 
moistened respectively by the westerlies and the equatorial rain- 
belt. As no cause seems to be known which could displace the 
equatorial belt of perennial rainfall and dense forest., to any con- 
siderable degree, the normal result of a pluvial or glacial crisis in 
the northern hemisphere has been to contract this trade-wind belt 
and its desert regime; and conversely. The only other important 
variable affecting the Southern Flatland has been the greater or 
less extent of submergence, in the Mediterranean and Mesopo- 
tamia, mitigating or accentuating the dryness of northerly winds, 
The mitigating influence of the Atlantic has of course been per- 
sistent, but has been neither great nor far-reaching, after the dis- 
appearance of that old gulf or lake-basin south of the Ahaggar 
plateau after the miocene period. It should be noted however that 
in periods of greater rainfall both this plateau and the Tassili and 
TIbesti uplands further north and east,, have attracted sufficient 
moisture to feed large rivers, running some southwards to the 
Niger, others northwards into the Mediterranean, by the Wadi 
Irharhar and the Tunisian Schotts* 

Direct land-contact between the southern Flatland and the 
Highland Zone is interrupted for the middle third of its length 
by the persistent water-surface of the cast Mediterranean basin, 
last remnant of old *Tethys'; and again far eastward, by the Gulf 
of Oman and the Mesopotamian Gulf, formerly much larger and 
wider than now. Between these two sea-barriers, outer ridges of 
the Tauric arc radiate south-westward and southward into north 
Syria and Cyprus, and this highland prominence is continuous 
southward with the upstanding edge of the great Arabian slab 
and detached fragments of it, as far as the peninsula of Sinai, 
forming a causeway along which migrations of momentous im- 
portance have occurred repeatedly. In the west Mediterranean 
the Atlas range, which must always be regarded as being geo- 

fraphically continuous, as well as structurally, with the ranges of 
icily and Italy, and also of south-eastern Spain s has the west 
Saharan Flatland along its steep southern face; but the continuity 
of the Eurafrican land-mass here Is qualified by the depth, and 
usual submergence, of the west Mediterranean depressions. Only 
at either end of this western basin have there been intermittent 
land-bridges from Atlas; north-eastward through Sicily to the 
. Apennine arc, concentric with the Alps and repeating on a small 
.scale some features of the Syrian causeway; and through Spain, an 


old highland comparable in size and structure with that of Asia 
Minor? to the broad coast-plains of the Atlantic seaboard north of 
the Pyrenees, 

It results from these northward avenues of the southern Flat- 
land, that there has been long intercourse between its inhabitants 
and those of the Highland Zone, at both ends of their long frontier; 
simple, marginal, and almost uniformly from north to south over 
the Syrian causeway; intermittent, complicated, oscillatory, and 
far-reaching, in the 'Eurafrican* west. 

Such oscillations and, no less, the general replacement of 'Afri- 
can' by * Arctic* forms of life throughout the whole north-west of 
the Old World, were caused, or at all events greatly accelerated, 
in the pleistocene period by the onset of a profound change of 
climate, very severely felt all over the new European sub-continent 
of Eurafrica, but by no means confined to this region; for the *Ice 
Age' or * Glacial Period 7 of the Old World has its counterpart in 
the New, and even very similar sub-periods. There have also been 
'Ice Ages* in the southern hemisphere, but there is no proof 
that they either coincided or alternated with those in the northern, 
and they had no known influence on mankind. With the northern, 
and especially with the European Ice Age it was otherwise. That 
the replacement of African occupants, on the other hand, was as 
gradual as it was, was due to the fact that the Ice Age was not 
continuous, but had its * interglacial* phases, which permitted 
African forms to return northward, and also allowed Asiatic 
species to move westward into Europe along the Highland Zone; 
and we shall see that this oscillation had profound significance for 

For if we compare the earliest known distributions of the other 
primates with the actual distribution either of their modern repre- 
sentatives, or of the principal races of man, it becomes clear that 
whereas the four-handed, and also many of the four-footed mem- 
bers of this 'order* of animals, retained mainly arboreal habits, and 
consequently were withdrawn southward and eastward into Africa 
and Malaya, as the subtropical forests were restricted by the 
general change of climate, one intermediate variety, two-handed 
an4 two-footed, and thereby more able to accommodate itself to 
the accidents of life in the open, became so far master of its fate as 
to outlast the forest, and enter on a career of pedestrian adventure 
and manual exploitation. We do not yet know at what stages in 
this acclimatization to the parkland and grassland sequel of the 
retreating forest this biped primate achieved its three primary 
controls over its surroundings control over dead matter, in the 

C. A,BM 


shape of boughs and stones, prolonging the reach, and enhancing 
the force, of its natural hand-stroke; control over the wayward 
energy of fire, the scourge and the terror of all other animals; and 
therefore not only comparative security against carnivorous animals, 
but control over the fund of sustenance and energy supplied by 
animal flesh. But we do know already, from an implement-strewn 
surface of old land underlying some of the earliest glacial debris 
of East Anglia, that some sort of tool-using, and animal hunting 
* precursor' of ourselves ranged so far as this to the north-west 
before the climate was as yet quite glacial; and from similar indi- 
cations in the Nile gravels, and on the surrounding desert, that 
subtropical drought restricted him as little as subarctic cold. How 
far these early traces, or remoter relics such as the Trinil brain-case 
from Java, or the Broken Hall skull and other bones from Rhcdesia, 
may be connected with ancestors of any actual variety of Man we 
must consider in fuller view of the effects of the glacial crisis* 


The causes of this Ice Age have been much discussed, and 
are still obscure: recent investigations lay greater stress on geo- 
graphical factors, such as the distribution of land and water, the 
elevation or depression of the region, and other circumstances 
favourable to intense snow-fall at certain places and seasons, than 
to those astronomical explanations by nutation of the earth's axis, 
or precession of the seasons, which were formerly popular. It is at 
all events certain that the severest glaciations occurred in periods 
of submergence, and that the repeated relaxations of glacial auster- 
ity coincide with greater exposure of land-surfaces, and with a 
continental climate drier rather than warmer, since dry air, how- 
ever cold, precipitates little snow; without copious snow there is 
nothing to feed a glacier, much less a continental ice-sheet; and 
under dry cold winds on the lowland the snout of the best-fed 
glacier shrinks rapidly by sheer evaporation* The same circum- 
stance goes far to explain why the main ice cap of the Old World 
lay so far towards its western edge, exposed to wet westerly winds 
off the north Atlantic which as we ixave seen had only recently 
attained its modern extent. In the same way s the evidence for ex- 
tensive glaciation on the mountain ranges of Caucasus, Armenia, 
and especially of Central Asia coheres with that for a wide water 
surface in the Ponto-Caspian lakeland, and for submergence of 
western Siberia, 

Of such glacial maxima there have been recognized three in 


most parts of France, and four on the north side of the Alps and 
Py^ene&s, and in north-western Germany, followed by two oscilla- 
tions during the final retreat over those districts which lay nearer to 
the principal snow-caps. The second, or * Mindel, * spell in the Alpine 
series (corresponding with the later part of the first, further north) 
was the severest; submergence was deepest, temperature lowest, 
and the Scandinavian ice sheet widest, covering all but the south 
coast of Britain, and meeting the glaciers of the Alps (while the 
Rhone glacier, for instance, extended to Lyon) and those of the 
Carpathians and Urals so that their margins, like the glaciers 
of the Caucasus, bordered and replenished the Sarmatian sea. 
Outlying ice-caps, mainly of this phase, have been traced on the 
Pyrenees, Apennines, and Dinaric and Tauric chains; in Armenia, 
Zagr8s, and the north Persian ranges; and over the whole moun- 
tain knot of the Pamirs and Hindu- Kush, from its Sarmatian shore 
to an ocean-gulf which flooded the Punjab. Over these vast areas, 
therefore, all life was obliterated temporarily, and round their 
margins and interspaces was reduced to sub-arctic desolation. 

There is strong reason for believing that the climatic oscilla- 
tions of the whole north-west Quadrant synchronized and formed 
part of a single great planetary episode. Not only is the fourfold 
glaciation of north-western Europe repeated around the Alps and 
represented in a fourfold * pluvial' sequence in the Nile Valley; 
but the glacial maxima represented by deposits in Nebraska, Kan- 
sas, Illinois and Wisconsin respectively, though not necessarily 
contemporary, seem to repeat the relative intensity of the Gunz, 
Mindel, Riss, and Wtirm maxima of the European Ice Age. It is 
therefore permissible to treat as standard the southern Flatland, 
where there would seem to have been least bi*each of continuity 
in plant and animal life, and interpret the more broken and 
complicated sequence in the western and the northern Flatlands, 
and also in the Highland Zone, by reference of their main 
episodes to the principal stages in the south. 

Before dealing with the human occupants of these regions, and 
their redistribution during and after the Ice Age, it is convenient 
to note briefly the effects of any such crisis on the distribution of 
anTmals and plants, partly because these effects can be more fully 
illustrated, partly because it was in response to changes in his 
animal and vegetable surroundings that man's first human efforts 
seem to have been made. 

It follows directly that in any displacement of climatic zones the 
corresponding flora and fauna were displaced accordingly, with 
due allowance for peculiarities of soil or configuration which either 


permitted the maintenance of any elements of such plant and 
animal associations, or accelerated their retreat. In this connexion, 
it is important to observe the normal sequence of the types of 
vegetation; round the margin of perennial snowfield or ice sheet* 
frozen treeless 'tundra* with transitory herbage after the spring 
thaw; then dwarf birch and stunted pine, passing to coniferous 
forest, and through this into mixed deciduous forest; oak, beech, 
and nut-bearing trees such as chestnut and walnut predominating 
in succession. Forest however may be interrupted, on soils un- 
favourable to trees, by other types of vegetation; on loess, repre- 
senting ancient deposits of wind-blown dust from adjacent desert, 
by precarious steppe or grass-land; on limestone, by the treeless 
turf of chalk-downs or wolds, owing to the withdrawal of surface 
water by underground channels; on ancient and imperviouslrocks, 
especially where these adjoin a wind-swept seaboard, by the dry 
bitter heather and gorse of moorland. Marshland too, and the 

travels of river valleys, have their special * plant associations/ 
>rming open glades between the forests which clothe the higher 
ground. This normal sequence is of course retarded also locally by 
altitude, which increases -rainfall, and reduces mean temperature. 
Parnassus for example has pines above its olives and buy-trees, and 
alpine flowers above its pines. 

Further south, in the 'Mediterranean' type of climate, with 
wet winter and rainless summer, deciduous trees give place to 
evergreens, and tall forest to thickets or shrubs; and as drought 
and warmth increase, even shrubs stand further apart,, in an under- 
growth of tough resinous bushes, and spring-flowering bulbs, 
annuals, and grasses* Eventually grasses, halfa-rush, and spiny 
leathery camel-fodder predominate, until they too fade out before 
drifting sand and sun-tanned rock. 

As climate becomes milder, the zones of vegetation move north- 
wards, and uphill; but as trees take centuries to mature, the shift 
of vegetation may lag behind that of climate* On the other hand, 
adverse shift of climate rapidly destroys the less hardy plants, for 
they cannot retreat and only acclimatize slowly; more .mobile 
forms of life, such as the larger animals and man, will cither follow 
their habitual food-plants or maintain themselves in aust<frer 
climate by change of diet, by growing winter-fur, by taking 
shelter in caves, or, in man's case, by appropriating the hides and 
fur of other animals, 

In an oscillating climate, therefore, such as that of this Ice Age* 
recurrent necessity offered exceptional stimulus to invention. It is 
man's inertia, rather than any initiative, his obstinate reluctance 


to abandon a mode of life once adopted, his recourse to any 
compromise * rather to endure the ills we have., than fly to others 
tha? we know not of* and, in the result, his unique ability to 
conquer Nature by reasoned conformity with Nature's ways, that 
differentiates him from all animals but those, such as horse and 
dog, in which he has apprehended and elicited faculties remotely 
analogous to his own, 


We are next concerned with the human stock, or stocks, which 
occupied these regions before and during the Ice Age. It has 
been noted already that the geological evidence points to prolonged 
geogttiphical severance between the plateaux of Central Asia, 
with their vast folded mountains and their eastward and northward 
forelands (including the whole of ancient Angara-land), and all 
that westward prolongation of the folded zone, with its forelands, 
which we have been discussing. This geographical severance at 
the narrow and almost impassable neck of high land where the 
Hindu Kush intervenes between Afghanistan and the Pamirs has 
its human counterpart in the segregation of the ancestors of the 
yellow-skinned, straight-haired Mong-oloid stock from all westerly 
varieties; for although anatomical evidence of its ancestry is not yet 
collected, enough is known, as we shall see (pp. 48, 59), about the 
slowness of the development of human types (for example, in pen- 
insular Europe) to justify the belief that this ancient seclusion of 
central and eastern Asia, lasted none too long for the differentia- 
tion of a kind of man so well-marked physically and even men- 

In the same way, the correlation of the black-skinned, woolly- 
haired stocks with the Malayan fauna, which is suggested by 
their actual distribution, would seem to postulate a period of time 
comparable with that suggested above for the Mongoloids, within 
which the no less highly-specialized negroid physique could be 
developed from a precursor more widely distributed, especially 
north-westward, and presenting those features in which both the 
negroid and the white stocks differ from the yellow. 

On the northern slopes of the Asiatic core the supply of 
moisture during the Ice Age brought the Altai glaciers down to 
6000 ft* from sea-level, far lower, that is, than sufficed to close all 
avenues from central Asia to the lowlands of Siberia and Tur- 
kestan. On the Himalayan side, monsoon winds from an Indian 
Ocean which covered the Punjab and Bengal, furnished snow 


more copious still, and moraines are found as low as 3000 ft. But 
though the comparatively narrow neck of high land between r the 
valleys of Indus and Oxus was wholly beset by its ice-cap, it is not 
necessary to suppose that within the great plateaux of central 
Asia there was perennial snow, or a wholly uninhabitable region. 
Rather the vast accumulations of loess, the deposit of countless 
dust storms, suggest a 'continental' climate with wide variations, 
and the possibility of at least seasonal occupation by fleet grazing- 
animals, such as the horse. It is indeed to an intimate parasitic 
connexion with such an animal "host/ in some siich circumstances, 
that we have probably to ascribe the highly specialized type of 
man characteristic of this region now. The yellow skin-colour of 
Mongoloid man gives him protective camouflage in sandy desert 
and dry-grass steppe; the structure of his straight wiry half, and 
its rarity except on the scalp, suggest adaptation to a continental 
climate; while its extreme length in both sexes serves to disguise 
the characteristic profile of the human head and neck, and approxi- 
mate it to that of a quadruped seen from behind. From the rather 
prominent jaw combined with globular brain-case may be inferred 
long habituation to some food which minimized the pull of the 
jaw muscles on the side-walls of the skull; and the only rood which 
fulfils this condition is milk and its products, on which nomad 
Tartars still live almost exclusively: the absence of face-hair, the 
short concave nose with spread nostrils, the peculiar infantile lips, 
the wide flat face and obliquely set eyes, are adaptations we should 
expect if for ages this milk was absorbed direct from the udder; 
and the short legs of some Mongoloids, and poor development of 
the calf-muscles in all> suggest that, like Tartar infants nowadays, 
the parasitic proto-IVtongol sat tight upon his host between meals, 
and shared its wanderings. 

On the steppes of glacial Europe, man hunted and ate the 
horse; if we suppose that in central Asia, during the same and 
perhaps in long earlier periods, he made friends with him and 
lived upon his friendship, we seem to have a clue to the paradox 
of the emergence of a highly specialized breed of man from a 
region which had been for a very long time so little suited, except 
on these terms, to sustain him at all. The absence of rfhy 
widespread relics of such occupancy explains itself on the same 
hypothesis* Men who did not hunt or fight, had no more need of 
coups-de-poing than of supra-orbital ridges or a fighting-jaw^ such 
as characterize the negroids or the 'Neanderthal' type in Glacial 
Europe, As they must travel with their animal hosts or perish, 
they had no choice but to desert their ailing relatives when they 


fell behind; Interments therefore are not to be expected, nor a 
group-psychology which sets much value on human life, or gives 
out-let to futile emotion. Almost inhuman in his normal apathy, 
the Mongol can display almost equine savagery when provoked 
by panic or ill-usage. 

The development of so peculiar a type presupposes not only a 
large continuous region ? of appropriate physique, but also com- 
plete seclusion. The high plateaux had supplied the former for a 
very long time, since loess-land is so inhospitable to trees or shrubs 
that wide oscillations of climate only affect the density of its vege- 
tation without changing the quality. Seclusion has been assured 
by the great altitude of these plateaux, the ruggedness of the sur- 
rounding ranges, and the dense rain-forest of their monsoon-swept 
outvtfftjrd slopes. While therefore it has been exceptionally difficult 
for alien folk to intrude, it has been relatively easy for Mongol 
man to emerge, on one of two conditions either that he parts 
company with his milk-giving host, and takes to hunting, as has 
happened in the north-east, or to agriculture, as in the south-east 
of Asia; or else, if he is to retain his nomad pastoral habit, he must 
wait till the climate has become so dry that Jhere are clearings of 
grassland through the forest belt. Even then he can only proceed 
so far as he finds grassland still in front of him; and this has only 
happened at two points: to the west, through the great avenue 
between Altai and Tienshan, and to the north-east, down the 
valley of the Hoang-ho; and even here it only happened far on 
in post-glacial time. 

It would be beyond the plan of this chapter, to discuss in detail 
the subsequent spread of Mongoloid Man through the Asiatic 
foreshores of his plateaii-home; but his western and north-western 
expansion has so profoundly influenced the course of history in 
the modern world, that it is necessary to trace at least the outlines 
of them, so far as they can be recognized; and also to make quite 
clear their upward limits in time, which appear to be very narrow. 

The older drainage of the southern and more elevated plateau, 
south of the Kuen-lun ranges, issued to the south-east, towards 
what is now the Malay Archipelago, but the Brahmaputra, cutting 
b^lck through the eastern Himalayas, where they have been inter- 
sected by the great Malayan folds, has captured the southernmost 
of these drainage areas; the Hoang-ho similarly has captured the 
northernmost, and the Yangtze the majority of those which lay 
between, leaving only a small remainder to feed the Sal wen and the 
Mekong. Consequently the main avenues of human movement 
have long been towards the eastern lowlands,, and the vast alluvial 


area deposited by Chinese rivers, thus reinforced., has received and 
acclimatized most of the human overflow from the interior* m 

From the northern and less elevated plateaux of Mongolia, 
however, the older drainage was mainly north-eastward; and here 
owing to the conformation of the eastern arcs, the eventual recipi- 
ents have been on the one hand the Amur, on the other the north- 
ward-flowing Lena and Yenisei. Here the continental core of old 
'Angara-land/ which is embraced between these two rivers and 
has been an immemorial reservoir of ancient forms of life, has also 
formed the * asylum" into which have descended successive types 
of flora and fauna discarded from the plateau-margins in successive 
periods of austerity. The human population here, so far back as it 
can be traced, belongs to such discarded fauna, and is consequently 
Mongoloid, but of far less specialized types than those which c havc 
never left the plateaux. It is from this Angara reservoir, and the 
mountain arcs which prolong the north margin of the plateaux and 
encircle them eastwards, that the whole north-eastern promontory 
of Asia has received its human population; and similar types, 
essentially yellow-skinned and straight-haired,, have passed on 
through it to Alaska and the New World, 

Westward, the long-continued submergence of the Siberian 
lowland from the Yenisei to the Urals prevented all expansion 
until very recent times: and the present belts of tundra and forest 
vegetation are post-glacial. As far west as the longitude of Moscow 
they are of east Siberian origin, and it is only here that this 
Siberian forest meets mid-European forests advancing in the 
opposite direction; so that there is overlap of competing species, 
with a slight balance of advantage on the side of the eastern types. 
The importance of this is that with the forest, and its animals,, 
man has spread also, from east, as from west; coalescing in the 
same longitude as the species of trees. And over and above 
the disputable evidence of hybrid physique around the line of 
coalescence, the Mongolian antecedents of all groups cast of 
that line are betrayed by the fact that they have the reindeer 
domesticated, and do not hunt it, as Redskins do ? and as did the 
men of the glacial west so long as wild reindeer survived there* 

Quite distinct from all this, and representing a very much lat<r 
phase of redistribution, is the exodus from the western gate of 
Mongolia. Here, about latitude 45, the roughly parallel ranges 
of Altai and Tienshan stand (on an average) two hundred miles 
apart; the descent by this avenue onto the Kirghiz steppe is easy 
and manifold; the head waters of the Irtish have already cut back 
into the plateau, and an earlier affluent of the Sarmatian sea once 


did the same, through the gap east of Lake Balkash, But this 
avenue only becomes passable under a special conjunction of cir- 
cumstances; the Kirghiz steppe, which all lies below 1500 ft., and 
much of it below 600 ft., must be neither submerged nor sand- 
swept; yet the avenue itself must be free of snow-cap and conver- 
gent glaciers; the forests on the outer slope and in the passes amist 
be discontinuous enough to permit pastoral nomads to pass with 
their flocks; and thirdly, there must be sufficient inducement to 
leave the plateaux at all. Obviously there is not here any large 
margin between one set of obstacles and the other. Moreover, ex- 
cept when the Sarmatian sea-floor is exposed, the Kirghiz steppe 
itself leads only to the Urals, where progress is barred again by 
forest. It is intelligible therefore that over long periods this western 
avenfae was not open for man; or if traversed at all, it served rather 
to admit western hunters from the steppes, or foresters along the 
foothills, than to let out the pastorals of the high plateaux; and 
the actual mixture of races all along this edge of the plateaux sug- 
gests that for a long while, and very widely, it was the west that 
was the aggressor, as indeed its cultures would lead us to suspect. 

This summary outline is enough to show what seems to have 
been going on in the Asiatic continent which bounds the North- 
west Quadrant on the east. Its significance is that so far as can be 
seen, High Asia and its characteristic type of man remained 
utterly secluded from the North-west Quadrant until post-glacial 
time, and may be quite left out of its history. 

We have next to deal with the African region which adjoins it 
on the south. 

This African region, like the core of highland Asia, consists of 
ancient and stable land, on the northern half of which cretaceous 
and subsequent limestones have been laid down without serious 
disturbance over an area which has gradually diminished during 
tertiary times. In the north-west the multiple Atlas ranges belong 
to the Alpine folds, not to flatland Africa. Eastwards the con- 
tinuity of this vast flatland has been broken, as we have seen, by 
the sunken troughs of the Nile and Red Sea, as the Arabian slab 
was tilted and detached. Similar depression and tilting in front of 
th.e Tauric and Dinaric arcs submerged successive long strips of 
the north margin to the Mediterranean sea-floor, but the greater 
part of the Libyan flatland stood fast, and the Cyrenaic plateau was 
even forced slightly upwards, Here there has been oscillation, even 
within historic times, for the harbour of ancient Leptis is high and 
dry now, whereas at Cyrene the sea has invaded the Greek theatre, 

With no barriers due to configuration, the distribution of plants 


and animals over this large area closely follows the climate. Equa- 
torial rainfall, resulting as it does from the general atmospheric 
circulation,, may confidently be assumed as a permanent factor' of 
strictly limited range, and has probably never extended much 
farther north than latitude 20. As the only really high ground is 
in Abyssinia., far to the south-east, the effects even of the present 
monsoon winds are minimized, and moreover, before the nearer 
sections of the Indian Ocean subsided, there was no reason for 
these winds to blow so far west at all. There has therefore been 
nothing since cretaceous times to interfere with the normal se- 
quence of trade-winds and westerlies over all northern Africa; 
and the only calculable effect even of the Scandinavian and Alpine 
glaciation would be to shift each of these zones southward towards 
the equatorial rainbelt, and narrow them both. The distribution 
of plant and animal life lay regularly therefore, as now, in zones 
of latitude: tropical forest in the south, passing through parkland 
into steppe and desert, and thence through steppe into evergreens 
followed by deciduous and coniferous forest, and sub-arctic moor- 
land and tundra. In the days of the early tertiary archipelago, the 
trade-wind zone was submerged, and there was therefore no 
desert; tropical plants and animals of old * Malayan' type flour- 
ished northwards almost to the Arctic circle, and those of the 
modern * temperate* zone were represented only in the interior of 
Laurentia, With the emergence of the western Sahara, and of 
the mid-European peninsula, 'Malayan' types were restricted to 
the Tropics, and replaced by * African * like those of the modern 
savannah region. On the establishment of a Mediterranean sea 
and European sub-continent north of it, * African* types were 
restricted in their turn, and replaced by * Arctic* forms from 
Laurentia; which have their counterpart in the modern flora of 
temperate North America, and are still fringed on the Atlantic 
and Mediterranean seaboards by the c Lusitanian* remnants of 
genera widespread in America* 

Of the human associates of this pre-glacial vegetation we have 
no direct evidence from Europe; but the modern human type 
which characterizes the zone now occupied by the restricted 

* African* fauna, is the negroid, both in Africa itself, and (as tfate 
aboriginal type) in the present Malayan region, and among the 

* African * fauna (with its lion, tiger, and elephant) which has fol- 
lowed the 'Malayan' into southern Asia. The Broken Hill skull, 
from a deep bone-deposit in a Rhodesian cave, was found associ- 
ated with a distinctive * African* fauna, and is reported to display 
no general character subversive of this statement* 


But here a distinction must be made. Among the vast majority 
of * African * (that is to say * negro ') men, the prominent carnivor- 
ous-looking jaw is accompanied by a markedly long-shaped skull, 
giving purchase to the powerful jaw-muscles and itself compressed 
by them. This, like the deeper blackness of the skin, has been 
commonly regarded as a special adaptation to 'African* zoological 
conditions; for other types survive isolated, not only in the heart 
of equatorial Africa and of the Malayan region, but far to the south 
where the edges of negro-land reach the Limpopo swamps and 
the Kalahari desert; types which though generally negroid, are 
of abnormally small stature, inclined to steatopygy (an abnormal 
development of superficial fat, especially among the women) and 
general hairiness, and with a yellowish or leathery tinge in their 
blackness, and a far less long-shaped head than either the standard 
negroes of Africa, or their * Malayan' counterpart in Melanesia. 
The trans-Malayan counterpart of the Bushmen, Vaalpens, and 
Strandloupers of South Africa is now easily recognizable in the 
Tasmanians 1 . 

That these types are ancient, and that they were already 
associated with the * African" fauna before it disappeared from 
Europe, is rendered probable, first, by the occurrence of negroid 
individuals along with north-western or Eurafrican races in 
palaeolithic deposits at Mentone, and in carvings palaeolithic and 
later; by the survival of a pygmy type into early neolithic times 
at S chaff hausen; by the frequent steatopygy of late palaeolithic 
and also of neolithic statuettes; by the representations of similar 
types in neolithic Egypt; and by other traces of a far wider distri- 
bution than now, in Africa itself. Besides the very long head of the 
standard negro type other characteristics, such as high stature and 
great physical strength, the more purely black pigment, the woolly 
scalp, the lack of body-hair, the prominent heel and slender calf, 
and the everted lips, may be regarded (like the more striking pecu- 
liarities of the Mongol type) as secondary adaptations to a highly 
special regime in this case the tropical rain-forest, during the 
restriction of the * African* fauna to its eventual range south of the 
desert belt. Analogous local adaptations of a genetically * African' 
Type, associated in its geographical range with survivals of an 
* African' fauna, may be regarded as sufficiently accounting for 
the 'oceanic' negroes; for the negroid 'Dravidian* survivals in 

1 There are no doubt other factors to be taken into account in tljese cor- 
relations, such as the build of the skull-base and the spinal calumny iail that is 
attempted here is to illustrate analogies, which might be multiplied, between 
the remoter races of the two regions in question. 


southern India and beyond; for the ancient descriptions of * Asi- 
atic Ethiopians' in Mekran and in the extreme south of Arabia, 
around the margin (that is) of the sunken regions of Indo-Africa; 
and for the curious survival in the Mediterranean, and even in 
France and Britain, of types which combine certain characteristics 
of negro and of white man without any of the common marks of 
the half-breed, 

If an anthropologist were required to indicate an extant type of 
man to illustrate such common characters, he would choose the 
widespread and loosely interconnected group which includes the 
aboriginal elements of the population of Ceylon and peninsular 
India, and a long series of remnants further west; through southern 
Persia, and parts of southern Arabia, merging in thje darker- 
coloured and slighter built elements of the mixed 'Hamitic' p<3f>u- 
lation of north-eastern Africa, and in a superficially similar strain 
which is perceptible among outcasts and derelicts of the Mediter- 
ranean region and recurs as far afield as the British Isles, though 
here there are few precise observations yet. 

Summing up the relations which have existed between the 
negro and the white races on the African continent we reach 
the following result. The climatic zone represented by the Saharan 
desert, though it has varied in width, has been maintained long" 
enough to serve as an impermeable screen between the negro and 
the white stocks, except along a narrow coast belt fringing the 
Atlantic, and perhaps in the Nile Valley. Only the rare 'negroid* 
individuals in the palaeolithic caves of the Riviera suggest that 
during exceptional northward shift of the climatic belts, African 
man may have reached south-western Europe, temporarily and in 
small numbers: though others would explain these facts not by 
northward incursion of ready-made African * negroids/ but by the 
former presence, along the whole length of the region immediately 
south of the Highland Zone, of 'dark white* types such as those 
already mentioned, 

We have thus reconstituted, so far as it is known, the earlier 
distribution of the yellow-$kinned, straight-haired, round-headed 
Mongoloids, in the secluded upland heart of Asia; of the black- 
skinned, woolly-haired, and long-headed negroes of Indo-Africatf 
antecedents; and of the very indeterminate group of varieties 
which range from the Dravidian and other "dark-white* stocks to 
the 'poor-whites' of^the Near East and the Mediterranean, Having 
associated the peculiarities of their physical build, with the preva- 
lence of geographical conditions likely to give rise to them, we 
turn to the more complicated problems presented by the so-called 


* white race" of the north-west Quadrant, Here the criteria of 
statute, hair-texture, skin colour, and headform seem at first sight 
to fail us, in the medley of tall and short peoples; slim or thickset; 
blondes, auburn s, and brunettes; with all varieties of wavy or curly 
hair, and of florid or pasty complexions; with eyes brown, hazel, 
grey or various shades of blue; and with heads rivalling the average 
proportions alike of Mongol and Negro, and presenting besides 
very marked variation, in the height and contour of the brain-case, 
and in the modelling of face and jaw, 

In the long controversy which has been provoked by these 
anomalies, the following have been the principal turning points. 
Blumenbach selected a Georgian type from the Caucasus to illus- 
trate whaj he regarded as the embodiment of the qualities of the 
whftc race as a whole, and gave to the group a name the full 
appropriateness of which is appreciated only when it was realized 
what a medley of men is harboured in the Caucasus itself, Huxley 
insisted on the importance of the varieties of skin and hair, and 
distinguished within the whole group a blonde and a brunette 
section. Sergi recognized a closer structural relationship between 
the long-headed brunettes of the Mediterranean, and the long- 
headed blondes of the Baltic shores than between either of these 
and the broad-headed men of the Alpine zone; Bogdanof proved 
that the long-headed people of neolithic Russia and western 
Siberia belonged to the Baltic or * Nordic" type, not to the Medi- 
terranean type as Sergi had supposed, and were to be classed as 
blondes; Lapouge realized that the broad-headed strains, distri- 
buted through the mountain zone of central Europe, over an area 
tapering somewhat from east to west, and extending beyond this 
zone far into western Russia, into the Netherlands and Denmark, 
and into the south and east of Britain, originated not by local 
adaptation of various longer headed peoples to highland altitudes 
or other geographical conditions, but by the intrusion of a fresh 
4 Alpine* race, anatomically distinct in its general build as well as 
in its characteristic head form. Ripley associated this European 
c Alpine' type with the great mass of even broader-headed varieties 
which occupy Asia Minor and the mountain zone eastward as far 
tLs the Pamirs. Deniker discriminated within this broad-headed 
complex, at least three brunette sub-types, the short thickset 
'Cevenole' of central France and Savoy, the tall, well-propor- 
tioned 'Dinaric' variety of Dalmatia and Albania, and the very 
peculiar 'Armenoids* of Asia Minor, with their heads abruptly 
flattened behind; to which it was an easy corollary, that the blonde 
Alpines of north-eastern Europe had arisen by interbreeding with 


'Nordic' blondes,, and his 'Littoral 7 and "Atlantic ' types by similar 
interbreeding with * Mediterranean * brunettes. Keith distinguished 
between those broad-headed folk who entered Britain across 6ie 
North Sea, coining from north-eastern Germany, and those who 
entered across the Channel and originated west of the Rhine. 
More recently Peake has restated the evidence for separating alto- 
gether from any * Alpine/ that is to say south-easterly immigration, 
those broad-headed peoples, of northern Mongoloid descent who 
came westwards with the spread of the Siberian forest, round the 
northern edge of the old Sarmatian lake-land. It only remains 
before summarizing present knowledge, as heretofore, in brief 
narrative form, to note tentative identification by de Ouatrefagcs of 
the * Cro-Magnon type' of late-palaeolithic man with recent Berber 
and Guanche strains; the separation established by Scfiliz of* the 
old long-headed population of the Danube Valley both from the 
Nordiclong-heads of the Baltic area, and from the Mediterranean 
folk of the south-west, and his affiliation of it to the late palaeo- 
lithic hunting-folk; and Fleure's recent confirmation of the long- 
suspected survival, in the moorlands of central Wales, of a breed 
anatomically indistinguishable from the widespread * Aurignacian* 
type, of the same remote period. For the steps by which these 
main positions have been won, and consolidated into a realm of 
knowledge, reference must be made to current hand-books and 
the literature on which they are based, 

The problem of the * white races* is simplified in some degree 
by the severe glaciation of northern and central Kurope, which 
is the central event of 'Pleistocene * and * Quaternary * times; since 
the origin of the modern population of the glaciated regions is to 
be sought not in any general survival of earlier kinds of man 
within them, but in their reo ecu pation by plants, animals and men 
alike, from unglaciated areas. It is therefore only in these adjacent 
areas that questions of continuous descent can arise; and the actual 
distribution of the Mongoloid and Negroid varieties, and still 
more the reported occurrence of non-Mongoloid and pro-Mon- 
goloid remains on a number of sites around the fringe of South 
America, offer a strong presumption that the human species had 
already spread very widely before the glacial crisis deranged itft 
distribution. The close association of Negroid survivals with the 
discontinuous African fauna makes it certain, as we have seen,, that 
man accompanied this fauna before its disruption^ and probable 
that he was associated with it when it was still in full occupation 
of the North- Western Quadrant. Human remains do in fact occur 
with those of * African * animals, in numerous European deposits 


belonging to fairly early phases of the Ice Age; and the later and 
better 'attested varieties of * eoliths/ belonging to phases not long 
an*tecedent 5 would be accepted by many people as evidence of a 
tool-using mode of life, if there were found contemporary traces of 
men who might have used them. In any case, the * Chellean' types 
of implements (p. 46), which are contemporary with the earliest 
human remains, are clearly not by any means primitive, but pre- 
suppose much experience in the improvement of handy stones, 


The sequence of early forms of man and of his handiwork was 
first established laboriously and by comparison of many sites in 
western Isurope; and it is only recently that it has been realized 
that in the Nile valley we have a single continuous series of de- 
posits, outside the glaciated area, and free from its destructive 
austerity, but near enough to it to be affected by marked alterna- 
tions of moist and dry climate which can now be securely linked 
to the main periods of the Ice Age in Europe. With this clue to 
guide us, we can more easily seize the outstanding features of the 
European series, among their bewildering complexity of detail. 

The deep narrow Nile-gulf which was formed, as we have seen, 
in the pliocene period, across an otherwise featureless plateau, 
became at the close of that period a series of long lakes fed partly 
from the upper Nile, but partly also by considerable lateral streams 
whose gravel-screes, washed from the plateau surface during a 
period of considerably greater rainfall than now, contain chipped 
flints of * eolith* types; and such * eoliths 7 are found on the plateau 
also. In a period of increasing subsidence and more abundant rain 
these lakes were gradually silted up by the deeply stratified Melan- 
<?/w>-beds, which overlie the lateral screes as high as 1 80 ft* above 
the present flood level. 

A rain maximum, which may be taken to represent the first 
glacial crisis in Europe, accelerated this silting, and made good 
hunting on the plateau for some kind of man, whose implements, 
of the Chellean* type familiar from interglacial gravels in west- 
ern Europe, are found both there and in the Melanop$is~bzd$. 
Breasted ascribes to this phase, on account of their deeply weather- 
stained appearance, certain earlier rock-engravings of animals and 
even of boats, on the precipitous edges of the plateau, A first inter- 
pluvial drought (representing an interglacial mitigation of the cli- 
mate of the north-west) terminated this silting; but the Nile stream, 
fed as now by tropical rainfall further south, continued to flow 


over the dry lake-beds, and cut into them a deep canon. It should 
be observed here that any northward shift of the desert regime 
should be accompanied by some extension of the tropical rain belt, 
and probably also of the area affected by the monsoon rains, since 
the Indian Ocean was by this time as extensive as now; and that 
these rains, then as now, would continue to feed the Nile stream, 
however arid the climate of its lower valley. In this period of 
drought and erosion, man seems to have maintained himself on 
the dry lake-bed, for Chellean implements are found among those 
remnants of its surface which forms the 'upper-terraces' on either 
side of the gorge. 

Next, a second rain-age, corresponding with the second or 
4 Minder glaciation of Europe, flooded the gorge and set the 
lateral torrents to work again; and as a rise in the sea-levelf like 
that which submerged much of the Atlantic seaboard, checked 
the main stream, a fresh series of gravels, analogous to those of the 
Somme and Thames, were deposited to a height of 90-100 ft. 
above present flood level. In the new screes, as well as on the old 
plateau surface outside the valley, implements are found, of the 
more advanced *Acheulian* fabric, showing that man became 
again ubiquitous as the region became refertilized; and in the early 
part of the second interpluvial pause, he spread once more, as in 
France and Britain, on to the gravel beds, and scattered imple- 
ments there to the margins of the new gorge which was being cut 
through them by the main river* 

Once again in a third rain-maximum, corresponding with the 
third or *Riss* glaciation, fresh gravels were laid down in this 
inner gorge, not so copious as the earlier series, but partly covering 
the recent lateral screes, and standing in some places as much as 
30 ft* above modern flood level; since the actual valley has been 
eroded In them during a third interpluvial drought* And once 
again, man ranged over the surface of these gravels, and left his 
implements there, as well as on the plateau, where they He on the 
desert surface mixed with all their predecessors* 

Then follows the fourth rain-maximum, a comparatively mild 
one, corresponding with the fourth or 'Wtlrm* glaciation. The 
gorge, of which the bed lies not less than 60 ft. below modern 
flood level, began to accumulate the first deposits of the present 
alluvium; which are shown by borings to contain human imple- 
ments at nearly all depths. A first pause in the deposition of this 
alluvium, corresponding probably with the * lower forest' period 
around the North Sea and the Channel, allowed man to descend 
through the fens to the river margin, and accounts for the presence, 


at a depth of 5060 ft. not merely of implements but of rough 
fragmehts of pottery, and animal bones of domesticable if not 
domesticated species. 

As the rate of deposition since the thirteenth century B.C. aver- 
ages 4-08 inches in a century, this depth would represent a period 
of 15,00018,000 years, assuming that the rate remained uni- 
form. But as there were certainly oscillations, and probably more 
rapid deposition at first, this estimate can only be approximate, 
and should perhaps be reduced. A second and a third access of 
alluvium, corresponding with the lower and upper peat-moss 
periods in Europe, and separated by ill-defined pauses, has raised 
the flood plain to its present level, at which it covers not only the 
edges of th last-eroded gorge, but part of the valley floor of the 
fourtS rain-maximum between the 'lower terraces* already men- 
tioned, which in some places now rise only about 20 ft. above 
the flood plain. 

It will be seen from this sequence of events that there is every 
reason to believe that the Nile valley, and the margins of the desert 
plateau on either side of it, have been occupied by man continu- 
ously, though with varying density of population, at least from the 
beginning of the pleistocene period. Wherever any of its succes- 
sive land surfaces remain in the valley itself, his implements have 
been found representing successive stages of skill analogous to 
those of western Europe; and on the surface of the plateau* 
which has been exposed continuously, implements of all periods are 
found indiscriminately, and constitute a more nearly uninterrupted 
and graduated series than anywhere else. The only serious gap, 
inevitably, is in the period immediately preceding the settlements 
on the present alluvial surface, because this alluvium is in process 
of deposition, and its encroachment, since the last interpluvial 
pause, on the surface of the lower terrace, has been burying the 
sites and tombs of immediately preceding phases, 

As human occupation has been thus continuous and (in the 
more fertile intervals) widespread, and as there is nothing in the 
physique of the earliest known inhabitants of the alluvial surface 
to suggest that they have been of anything but the local variety of 
EiJrafrican man, it seems probable that the arts of life represented 
in all these deposits are of indigenous, or at least quite local de- 
velopment. The last period of alluvial aggression has however been 
a very long one, and while the pauses in it may be presumed to 
represent phases of greater drought than now, the periods of more 
rapid deposition should be interpreted conversely as periods of 
moister climate, and consequently of less complete isolation from 

C. A.H.I 3 


the comparatively well-watered and fertile region of Palestine and 
Syria, where a similar though not yet so perfect sequence* of im- 
plements is being found. At these phases therefore allowance mxist 
be made for the possibility of intrusions of Palestinian and Syrian 
man, anticipating that which is known to have occurred when the 
so-called 'Gizeh' type entered and dominated Egypt in early 
dynastic time, And the gradual dilution of this alien type on that 
occasion imposes caution in assuming,, from the approximate 
purity of the predynastic inhabitants of the valley, that no such 
intrusion had ever occurred earlier. 

The importance of such caution will be understood when we 
take stock of the predynastic culture, more fully to be described 
in Chap, vi, and compare it with the distribution of |ome of its 
chief elements elsewhere. First, the types of implements preserve 
almost without qualification the ancient technique of mere chip- 
ping and flaking. The grinding and polishing, characteristic of 
neolithic implements in Europe and along the Highland Zone, 
are employed only late and in a supplementary way. The flaking 
on the other hand exhibits a climax of unparalleled delicacy just 
before the first apparition of copper implements, in immediately 
predynastic time. This obstinate adherence to the flake-technique 
cannot be merely due to the abundant supply of suitable flint, in 
the rocks of the valley sides; for the upper valley exhibits a large 
variety of crystalline and volcanic rocks, and pebbles from these 
rocks are included in old gravels downstream. Considering the 
proximity of the large West Asiatic region of ancient and highly 
developed skill in grinding and polishing such pebbles, the 
persistence of the flake-technique in Egypt is therefore a strong 
presumption of technical isolation; and the rare occurrence of 
polished celts, of the fully formed neolithic types common In 
Western Asia, points rather to occasional trade than to local 

This isolation is confirmed by the original and unparalleled 
sequence of the pottery-forms, at all events down to the point at 
which appears the * red-polished* ware which is common to Egypt, 
Syria, and Cyprus in immediately predynastic time. And the fact 
that so many of the Egyptian pot-forms seem to depend on those 
of vessels cut out, or rather ground out^ from hard stone, makes all 
the more remarkable that abstention from the grinding-tcchniqiie 
for implements, which has been noticed above* With the ovoid 
forms of many of these stone vases should be compared those of 
the perforated stone mace-heads, which likewise betray great 
technical skill in shaping and perforating refractory rocks, 


It must however be remembered that it is just at this period 
that thfi Nile-valley series is least continuous and complete. Be- 
tween the two main groups of the oldest remains (the refuse heaps 
and the burials beyond the advancing edge of the alluvium) there is 
a notable discrepancy. For from the moment when the population 
left their earlier settlements, descended into the fens, and began 
to domesticate cattle and practise agriculture, until the time when 
the fens were completely reclaimed, the dead were probably buried 
in the alluvium, or on its margin, and the earlier tombs are there- 
fore covered more or less deeply by the later alluvium. That this 
was so, is shown by one or two of the oldest known burial-grounds, 
which not only lie on the very edge of the present alluvium but 
have been proved to extend beneath it. Yet even these show phases 
of culture which are highly developed and in some respects already 
decadent; and throughout the long 'predynastic' period for which 
burials are available, there is further decadence, especially in the 
finer stonework. Moreover, even in the earliest known graves, 
objects of lapis lazuli, which must be of foreign origin, are found 
occasionally, and also objects of copper. Probably therefore the 
greater part of the purely neolithic stage of Egyptian civilization 
still remains to be disinterred from tombs on the valley floor 
beneath the recent alluvium, and from sites on old flood plains 
within the alluvium itself. 

Other arts of life, represented in the earliest burials, are the use 
of wattled huts, basketry, matting and vegetable thread; of leather 
and wood-work, and of bone, ivory, and shell for ornaments. 
Rouge and green malachite were used for paint. Agriculture is 
represented by flax, millet, barley, and wheat; of the latter grain, 
both the variety called emmer (Triticum dicoccum^ which is found 
wild in limestone uplands in Syria, and Moab, and in western 
Persia) was grown, and also the cultivated wheat (TrMcum vu/gare). 
Goats, sheep, and short-horn cattle were kept, all apparently of 
African varieties, and attempts were still being made even in early 
dynastic times to domesticate ibex, gazelle, antelope, deer, and 
other desert ruminants. There were domestic geese and ducks 
from the fens, and from early paintings it would seem that the 
os?xich was familiar, if not kept in captivity like the gazelle. The 
dog was known, and in early dynastic times there were special 
breeds for sport and other purposes. The only beast of burden was 
an African variety of ass. There was organized irrigation, and 
probably an ox-drawn hoe, the prototype of the plough, as it is 
depicted in early-dynastic hieroglyphs. The river was navigated 
in large house-boats; there was fishing with hooks of delicate 

3 * 


flint work, and immemorial hunting on the desert and in the 
fens, for the prowess of chiefs was symbolized by a fobe^ of 

That in fertile periods a similar neolithic culture spread widely 
westward over north Africa is clear from early Egyptian records, 
depicting the Libyans as pastoral folk, with herds of cattle, and 
asses; and from the survival, even now, of pot fabrics and basketry 
of predynastic technique and decoration. 

Connecting links between the palaeolithic series of the Nile 
valley and of western Europe are not yet numerous; but enough 
has been found, especially in Algeria, and around Gafsa in south 
Tunis, to support the conclusions drawn from the climatic regime, 
and geological confirmations of its effects, and from^he general 
character of the modern population, which includes Aurigifkcijin 
remnants like those of Plynlimmon and Dordogne, and is other- 
wise strikingly uniform with the older elements in western 
Europe. Eoliths have been recorded around Gafsa and in Algerian 
quaternary beds; pre-Chellcan and Chellean types from Gafsa ; and 
the later deposits around Gafsa reveal a typical North African 
culture equivalent to the later palaeolithic of Europe. Rock-draw- 
ings from Algeria resemble those in the later French and Spanish 
caves. The area of this 'Capsian' culture (so called from the ancient 
name of Gafsa itself) seems to cover all northern Africa as far 
south as the oasis of Ghadames; it passes over westward into the 
later palaeolithic of Spain and southern France, and extends east- 
ward into Syria, And the continuity, now abundantly evident for 
this later * Capsian ' culture, is indicated for earlier periods also by 
more scattered finds of implements of all fabrics common to the 
Nile and to west Europe, in the wide ill-explored area between 
Gibraltar and North Syria. We may safely assume, therefore, es- 
sential continuity of human occupancy of this region from before 
the first pluvial period, qualified only in its extent by the climatic 
oscillations, which cohere, as in Egypt, with those of the European 
Ice Age. We may conclude also that all interglacial ebb and flow 
of human types from the south towards the Atlantic seaboard was 
essentially the marginal expansion or contraction of this large 
Eurafrican region. Of the physical characters of Burafrican nfcn 
we learn more at present from the remains on European sites, than 
from the ill-explored areas further south; in Egypt, unfortunately, 
no such remains have been found before the time of the predynastic 
graves, which belong, as we have seen, to the latest alluvial phases* 
Before turning however to the palaeolithic series in Europe, the 
question confronts us ; what was happening east of the Nile valley, 


and south of that section of the Folded Highland which affronts 
so abnfptly the Levant and the Persian Gulf; namely on that large 
Arabian flatland which lies dislocated and tilted askew between 
great Africa and greater Asia, and along the Palestinian isthmus 
which connects its north angle with the Highland Zone? In its 
earlier stages, as we have seen, this flatland was itself a part of 
Africa: and the great fractures which determined the geography 
of the Red Sea and the Nile valley did not wholly break this con- 
nexion. Both at the northern and the southern end of the Red Sea, 
there had been frequently continuous land, and in dry periods this 
sea shrank through evaporation, as the Dead Sea has shrunk now. 
But the great slab of Arabia itself, tilting steadily under Iranian 
fold-stresse^s, became structurally secluded behind its abrupt 
western escarpment, and offered to its occupants an independent, 
if rather restricted career. Until the comparatively late disruption 
of the Hormuz Strait, the waters of the long Mesopotamian lake 
an Adriatic of the Nearer East restricted the land area of this 
peninsula, and mitigated its climate. The dimensions of its east- 
ward-flowing drainage systems testify to former fertility; and we 
must probably conceive it as having long enjoyed a regime not 
unlike that of peninsular India, with Lebanon and Bashan playing 
the part of the Ghats. 

That it was inhabited by man, with a palaeolithic culture re- 
sembling that of north Africa, is proved by implements from 
Sinai, Palestine and Phoenicia, the only districts which have been 
sufficiently explored; they range from C M ouster ian* types onwards; 
that is to say, from at least the third pluvial maximum. Of the 
sequence of physical types, we know nothing: provisionally it may 
be assumed, from the sequence of artefacts, that if * Neanderthal' 
Man ranged over this region, as is suggested by the * Mousterian ' 
implements, he was extirpated, as in the west, by men of generic- 
ally Eurafrican stock; for the actual inhabitants, though far from 
uniform, are in essentials akin to their western neighbours. It 
would be natural to expect some traces of the 'Grimaldi 7 negroids 
of the Riviera caves, and of the *poor white' strains (already men- 
tioned) which are common to the Atlantic seaboard, the Mediter- 
nfihean, and peninsular India; and superficial observation supports 
this; but there has been no accurate survey as yet. All that can 
be stated at present is that a modern population, of generically 
Eurafrican stock, shows larger local modifications than the present 
uniform regime would lead us to expect; and it may be inferred 
from this, that with more copious vegetation the main drainage 
areas were formerly better secluded, and permitted such differ- 


entiation. The most Important of these local varieties is a com- 
paratively broad-headed type in the extreme south of Arabia; but 
there is no evidence as to its antiquity here, and it may only result 
from intercourse in historic times with trading centres in north 
Syria, which as we have seen is an ancient dependency of the 
Highland Zone. 

Such are the physical circumstances in which was fashioned one 
of the most notable of human stocks, the Semites of Arabia. 
Physically they are akin to their 'Hamitic* neighbours beyond the 
Red Sea and throughout Eurafrica, and strongly contrast with 
the men of the Highland Zone who have spread southward along 
its Syrian projection, or overflowed from time to time along the 
margins of the tilted slab. Culturally they have been habituated 
for long ages, like the Nile-plateau folk, to alternations'of moisture 
and drought, which however never seem to have permitted any 
extensive growth of forest, except on the monsoon frontage to the 
south-east, nor, on the other hand, ever to have extinguished the 
grassland vegetation entirely. They are therefore typically grass- 
land folk. They have domestic animals of their own, goat, camel,, 
and ass, all native to Arabia; the sheep, and eventually the horse, 
have been acquired by them from outside; in both cases from the 
north. They have a remarkable type of linguistic structure, re- 
motely shared only by the Hamitic group, which lies nearest to 
them, otherwise; and a temperament and outlook more coherent 
and persistent than that of any other of the greater races. In the 
moister spells, such people multiply over the widening grassland 
more rapidly than any alien can habituate himself to pastoral life, 
or to precarious agriculture c between the desert and the sown/ On 
the other hand, in spells of drought, Arabia erupts like a volcano, 
pouring floods of highly organized and mobile tribes across its 
land frontiers north-eastward, northward, and across the Jordan 
rift into coastland Syria and Palestine, perchance even into Africa. 
There has been percolation also, more insidious, but of wide effect, 
across the Red Sea, and especially its southern strait, where the 
transit into Africa is shorter, and timber for boats is more avail- 
able. Such periodic exodus of Arabian tribes can be traced back 
inferentially to the third millennium at least; and it need not tee 
supposed that the earliest recorded movement was by any means 
the first. The predynastic regime of Upper Egypt, for instance, 
seems to be partly due to such a movement crossing the Red Sea 
to Koseir, and reaching the Nile at Coptos by a trail which can be 
followed now. And it has already been hinted that the old popu- 
lation of the Nile valley may have been so supplemented even 


earlier. The physical resemblance between Arabian and Eurafrican 
man is* however close enough to make detection difficult, even if 
eafly evidence were found. See also pp. 182 sqq^ 193, 254. 

Allusion has already been made to the prolongation southwards 
of spurs from the Highland Zone through North Syria, to form 
with the high western edge of Arabia a continuous highland 
causeway along the abrupt eastern margin of the Mediterranean, 
and then along the Gulf of Akaba to loftier and steeper escarp- 
ments fronting to the Red Sea. In structure most of this causeway 
is Arabian, but its exposure to wet winds from the west has given 
it a Mediterranean climate and a considerable rainfall; it is the 
'good land beyond Jordan, flowing with milk and honey/ which 
tempts the nomads of Arabia in all ages, yet has never acclimatized 
them to itsfclf. For the vegetation is partly old African, with tropi- 
cal survivals still in the hot moist jungle of the Jordan gorge; 
partly Mediterfanean, spreading along the coast plains and sea- 
ward foothills; but always mainly Asiatic, reinforced, ever since 
the junction of highland causeways above mentioned, from the 
Highland Zone at its north end. Of its earlier human occupants 
we have little but a few Mousterian implements; but in the first 
neolithic culture in Palestine the people are of the highland breed; 
they burn their dead; and their implements, pottery, and other 
equipment are in strong contrast both with everything Egyptian, 
and with the grassland influences which predominate later. Arabian 
man has occupied the 'good land' again and again; but the moist 
air seems to be fatal to him, and many of the peasantry of south 
Palestine are hardly to be distinguished from their neolithic pre- 

But the Palestinian complication is not the only one which 
qualifies the homogeneity of Arabia. Very ancient interaction of 
the streams which furrow the south face of the Highland Zone 
has reduced its drainage systems in this region to three. The 
Cilician rivers, trending south-westward, have created a secluded 
alluvial foreshore on the Gulf of Alexandretta, peopled, in all ages, 
by tribes who have come down from the mountain region inland, 
or, more rarely, have landed from oversea. The Tigris, flowing 
smith-eastward, is joined below Mosul by the two Zab rivers from 
the Median highlands in what was once another such foreshore, at 
the head of a Mesopotamian gulf; but it could only attain its eventual 
importance when that foreshore spread along the foothills of Zagros 
and merged with the similar deltas of the Diyala, and eventually of 
the Kerkhah and Karun further south again. The latter even now 
has a separate mouth west of the Shatt el-Arab. Here again, as in 


Palestine and Cilicia, vegetation and other occupants spread 
outwards from the valleys, and coastwise, as these delta foreshores 
encroached on the gulf. 

But between the head-waters of the Tigris and those of the 
Ctlician rivers., one southward stream, Euphrates, has cut back 
deeper and further than its neighbours and intercepted not only 
the original headwaters of the Tigris, between Malatiu and 
Diarbekr, but far larger areas of old westward drainage as far 
as Erzerum and the slopes of Mount Ararat. Thus reinforced, 
Euphrates has excavated, in successive periods of elevation and 
copious rainfall, a wide and deep valley, well-watered and fertile 
throughout, athwart the sunk north-eastern slope of the Arabian 
slab, reaching the gulf formerly at el-Der, later at Ana, and (at 
the beginning of the modern phase) at Hit, where it cicscemis a 
last terrace of solid coast-line almost to the present sea-level. 
To plants, animals, and people of the foothills and the Syrian 
parkland, this long fertile valley has always offered sustenance far 
out into the steppe and desert which it traverses, 

By this emphatic frontier of the Euphrates channel, a roughly 
triangular area of southward sloping plateau -a miniature Arabia. 
about as large as Ireland is marked off from the Syrian and 
north Arabian plateau, and has never wholly been rejoined in 
history. This is Mesopotamia, the 'land between rivers/ for the 
Tigris delimits it no less clearly eastward from the foothill country 
below the Zagros ranges. Its structure is continuous with that of 
Syria; its climate is essentially the same, giving it (at present) 
desert and steppe regime in the south, and parkland nearer the 
hills. Its only river, the Khabur, rises in the highland, where it 
threatens to behead what is left of the Upper Tigris at Diarbckr; 
but till this happens its drainage-area is not sufficient to give It 
geographical importance; except that where it falls into the 
Euphrates close below el-Der, its delta forms a cultivable plain 
opening on the main valley. It will be seen at once that like 
Syria to the westward, Mesopotamia forms a region of transition, 
occupiable from the highland north of it, as far as its parkland 
extends at any given period; but offering wide steppe-pasture to 
any nomads of Arabia who may succeed in putting their flocfeS 
across the Euphrates, 

These then were the geographical and economic factors down 
to the time when the present sea-level was established* and the 
Euphrates delta, propagated south-eastward from Hit, began to 
coalesce with those of the Tigris and the Diyila round the Meso- 
potamian gulf-head, which then lay between Baghdad and Samarra, 


We might compare an immature Lombardy with, the Ticino pre- 
paring to join deltas with the Po. 

'What has followed, while the joint delta pushed its alluvial 
steppe and dense fen-margin seaward over the 550 miles which 
separate Hit from the modern coastline., is disputed, and must 
inevitably be obscure. As in Egypt, the population, human and 
other, of the alluvial flood-plain may be presumed to have been 
derived from the shores of the gulf as it silted up. But these shores, 
as we have seen, were themselves peopled from different sources; 
the deltas of the eastern torrents, from the Zagros foothills; the 
Tigris banks, with sparse but continuous offshoots of the occu- 
pants of its upper valley; the fertile bed of the Euphrates, with 
similar elements, longer segregated however from their highland 
and parkland ancestry. Arabia, on the other hand, established a 
longer and longer land frontier with the growing flood-plain, as 
happened to Libya while the Nile trough was being silted up; it 
overflowed this frontier with its own aborigines, wherever steppe 
conditions were established; and this Arabian element became 
more important as two conditions were fulfilled; first, as the north- 
ern part of the delta between the main rivers, and behind its ad- 
vancing fen-frontage on the gulf-head, was assimilated in climate 
and vegetation to the steppe of southern Mesopotamia; second, 
as the main Euphrates stream took a more easterly course (as it 
eventually did), leaving a larger expanse of alluvium from Kerbela 
southward undefended by any considerable water-channel against 
Arabian immigrants; and this, too, nearly opposite the point where 
intercourse is easiest with the comparatively hospitable Nejd oases 
in the heart of the peninsula. On the other hand the establishment 
of an important bifurcation of the Euphrates threw a new channel 
across to the Tigris near Baghdad, and interposed a fresh obstacle 
to nomad intruders from Mesopotamia into what we may hence- 
forward call by its historic name of Babylonia, or by the older 
names of Sumer and Akkad, its principal sub-regions, which differ 
slightly in accordance with their respective situations. That under 
these circumstances the southern or Sumerian half of the growing 
delta should be more exclusively populated from the foothills of 
Za|>Tos, and that the northern or Akkadian half should show 
greater affinities with Arabian and Mesopotamia!! people, would 
seem to be inevitable, and is generally admitted. It is however 
unnecessary, in view of the geographical antecedents, to attribute 
all such northerly or westerly affinities to the earliest Semitic 
migration of which there is historic record. The same factors had 
been co-operating already for a long time. 



We have next to see how this region of the 'Two Rivers/ and 
the sections of the Highland Zone adjacent to it, northwards and 
eastwards, were affected by the glacial crisis. As evidence is at 
present scanty, conclusions must be more general,, and a wider 
survey will best bring out the most essential points. As far as the 
head of the Adriatic,, a single series of events has been reconstructed 
in greater detail for all western Europe, and to this we shall re- 
turn later. East of the Adriatic, information is less copious, but 
the main course of events is fairly clear. The Carpathians, Dinaric 
ranges, and the Thracian mass of Rhodope were heavily snow- 
capped, and glaciated locally, and similar conditions prevailed on 
the coast-ranges of Asia Minor, both north and soutfi. Caucasus 
and Armenia, rising to greater altitudes, were glaciated more 
severely; and Lebanon, flanked by the Mediterranean on the one 
side, and with the shores of the Mesopotamian Gulf not so far off 
as now, on the other, had an ice-cap exceptionally heavy for its 
latitude. But a large part of Asia Minor probably remained fertile 
and habitable throughout. What is far more characteristic of this 
region, as of the Aegean depression and the Hellenic promontory, 
is the severely pluvial denudation, accentuating the rugged high- 
lands, and smothering the foothills in vast sheets of gravel and 
sand. In these the rivers cut fresh gorges during the drier intervals, 
which were also periods of emergence and consequently of longer 
and steeper gradients. The older drainage of Asia Minor had been 
longitudinal, towards the Aegean subsidence; sections of It are 
recognizable In the headwaters of the Euphrates, Halys and Iris; 
and the great westward avenue past Afium-karahissar probably 
represents its main outlet seaward* But later upthrusts of the 
west end of the Tauric arc closed this outlet, and converted the 
central plain into a lake-land, where some salt and gypsum were 
deposited as in Iran, But this had all happened in prcglacial 
timesj and the subsequent development of Asia Minor was differ- 
ent. For it was an immediate result of the subsidences already 
mentioned in the Black Sea region^ to accelerate erosion in the 
torrents on the new north coast, and two of these, Sangarius afiid 
Halys, cutting back clean through the Paphlagonian range*, drained 
the greater part of the central lake-land, and kept all Its floor fresh 
and habitable except the small central basin or Lake Tatta, The 
present drought is recent, and in part remediable; even in the fifth 
century B.C. the district west of the Halys was 'richest in sheep 
and corn of all known 1ri tads' for Herodotus. 


Further east, the Armenian ice-cap extended at times almost to 
the plateaux, east and west; but in milder intervals there was con- 
tinuous highland country, full of small plateaux, glacier-fed gorges 
and lake-basins, from eastern Asia Minor to western Iran; prob- 
ably even at the worst some sort of corridor by way of Sivas, 
Kharput, Diarbekr, and the "Upper Tigris; while the triangular 
uplands of North Syria, between Adana, Damascus and Mosul, 
do not seem to have been glaciated at all. 

Even now, though the water-surface of the Persian Gulf has 
been greatly restricted, the deflection of the jo-inch rain-line 
north-eastward beyond the Lebanon reveals an exceptionally moist 
and equable climate, and associates this margin of the Arabian slab 
with the highlands to the north, and with the Mediterranean sea- 
boatfl, rather than with the rest of Arabia. It is no wonder that 
we have record of elephants in one of these Syrian valleys as late 
as the twelfth century B.C., or that the Macedonian veterans of 
Alexander the Great made here their most enduring settlements. 
But the well-marked ridge which is followed by the caravan route 
from Damascus to Palmyra makes the transition from parkland to 
steppe rather abrupt; and as long as the Lebanon retained any con- 
siderable ice-cap- and it was certainly glaciated severely there 
was little or no communication between north Syria and the south. 
The spread of Highland Man into Palestine (p. 39) was probably 
quite post-glacial, 

The course of events further east has been less easy to discover. 
Through the extension of an * Indian Ocean * along its southern 
margin, and through the re-establishment of the Sarmatian sea on 
the north, the climate of Iran necessarily became moister and more 
equable than it had been while its salt and gypsum beds were 
accumulating. Allowing always for its more southerly latitude, and 
ampler size, we may compare its geographical position with that 
of Asia Minor now, between the Levant and the Black Sea; and 
as it retains many elements of its old Indo-African fauna, there 
cannot have been any such climatic break as occurred further 
west. At most the salt and gypsum-covered waste in its centre has 
been larger or smaller, and more or less occupied by lakes; and 
iS present drought is consequent on the quite recent shrinkage of 
the Sarmatian sea. During the glacial crisis, its high marginal 
ranges were snow-laden, but not severely glaciated except in the 
north-west and north-east; the diluvial thaw was consequently not 
very destructive; and as the main basin was never tapped by in- 
ward-cutting torrents, like Asia Minor (though some intermont 
basins in Zagros have begun to be drained by streams flowing 


south into the Persian Gulf) its local reserve of moisture was only 
slowly dissipated, at the cost however of greater ultimate Salinity. 
East and west of it, however, the ice-caps of the Hindu Kush and 
Armenia, where the marginal ranges converge, isolated this region 
no less completely than did the seas to north and to south; for 
until the diluvial debris became continuous along the western 
frontage, the Persian Gulf extended, as we have seen, at least 
to the point where the Tigris emerges from the foothills of 
Kurdistan; while raised beaches of it have been traced far west 
of the Euphrates, 

All these regions therefore were habitable during the greater 
part of the Ice Age, and there are Chellean implements on the sur- 
face in Iran and Arabia, and in gravels containing mampoth bones 
on the Caspian shore, to show that they were inhabited widely by 

The diluvial thaw, however, brought disaster here* As was 
natural so far south, it was very rapid, once the cold crisis was 
over; violent torrents seamed deeply the superficial sediments of 
the Arabian slab, and spread masses of debris, among which the 
older rivers followed uncertain courses, like the Oxus later on the 
Sarmatian sea-floor. Then, to diluvial rains succeeded drought and 
drifting sand, before any grassland, still less any forest regime 
could be established, sufficient to disintegrate this debris and ac- 
cumulate soil. In the foothills of Zagros similar torrents, descend- 
ing more abruptly, spent their diluvial energies within a narrower 
radius; so that the eventual course of the Tigris skirts and even 
erodes their fan-shaped screes of gravel Rapidly at first, and after- 
wards more gradually, the northern part of the old Persian Gulf 
was filled up by these converging deltas; while further south finer 
sediment accumulated with proportionate speed. There was up- 
ward earth movement, too, after long subsidence, for at Hit the 
Euphrates has cut down to an older shore line, and its rapids are 
now wearing through the sill of this* The disastrous effect of this 
diluvial phase was to eliminate Mesopotamia as a focus of post- 
glacial culture, and to postpone effective occupation till an alluvial 
area had been created beyond it. The contrast, in every respect, 
with Egypt on the one hand, and with the Po valley on the othfir, 
is complete,, and of historical Importance, 



We return now to peninsular Europe, west of the Adriatic and 
the Black Sea. Here the fourfold Alpine maxima of the glacial 
period corresponds as we have seen, with the pluvial maxima of 
the Nile, and with repeated glaciation, fringed by diluvial rainfall, 
of the Balkan lands and western Asia. Earlier study of the river 
gravels and caves of the Atlantic seaboard, from Britain to Spain, 
and most of all in northern and central France, has recently been 
supplemented by research along the north side of the Pyrenees, 
and in many parts of Spain; among the caves of the central 
German and Bohemian highlands; in the widespread deposits of 
interglacial loess along the Rhine, in the Danube valley, along 
the Margins of the north German lowland, and beyond the Car- 
pathians, in Poland, and Ukraine, There is controversy still as 
to the perspective of the earlier human finds; the principal question 
being whether these are later than the third or * Riss ' glaciation, 
or go back Into the milder interval between this and the second or 
* Minder crisis, which was the severest and most extensive of all. 
In what follows, the longer intervals are adopted, in the belief 
that these accord more closely with the pluvial series on the Nile, 
In Europe, as in Egypt, 'eolithic' objects from preglacial deposits, 
have been claimed by some observers as human handiwork. In the 
light of the Egyptian material, which offers very similar forms, 
the probability that they are so is somewhat increased; but it is 
too early yet for an accepted verdict on most of them. In East 
Angiia however the presence of preglacial Man seems already 
secure (p. 18), 

On the longer reckoning above adopted, it is in the * first iiiter- 
glacial * deposits which preceded the boulder clays and moraines 
of the *Mindel* glaciation, that the earliest human fragment has 
been found, a lower jaw chinless but recognizably human, from a 
gravel-bed near Heidelberg. No implements have been discovered 
in this deposit. A more perfect skull of a quite different and more 
modern-looking type comes, together with 'eoliths' and rolled 
bones of subtropical animals, from a very early river-side deposit 
arPiltdown, near Lewes, above, though not actually with, which 
lay gravel with implements ruder than those next to be mentioned, 
but generally similar in type. The date of the Piltdown deposit is 
still disputed, but it cannot be later than the earlier glacial gravels 
of the Thames, and may be considerably earlier. 

Next in the * second interglacial' debris of the thaw-swollen 
Somme, and other west European rivers, occur numerous imple- 


ments, of the ruder fashion typical of the gravels of Chelles, and 
then in more skilful workmanship, at St Acheul. Both styles are 
chipped from natural nodules of flint 3 so as to leave one end 
pointed, and the butt naturally or designedly rounded for grasping 
in the hand. These are but flood-spoil from camping grounds on 
the river banks, and tell little about their makers and users except 
that they haunted the drinking-places of the large African fauna 
whose bones are in the same gravels. Here, though we have their 
implements, we have at present no trace of the men themselves, 

It is only when the third glaciation draws on, and the African 
fauna were being replaced, except the woolly mammoth, by rein- 
deer, musk ox, arctic fox, marmot, and other Arctic animals, that 
man and his prey alike took shelter from the weathcj: in natural 
caves, and 'Mousterian* scrapers and borers, rudely fashioned by 
retouching the fresh edges of the flakes formed in shaping the 
'Acheulian* coup-de-faing^ give a glimpse of the scraping and 
piercing of bones and hides during such sojourn, and the first 
hint of woman's knack of finding secondary uses for the waste 
from man's chase and chipping. The colder climate was enforcing 
the invention of clothes. In a Jersey cave of this period the hunting 
weapons predominated near the opening; domestic scrapers and 
hacked bones of animals further in; the remains of a child lay a 
little outside the entrance. In one French cave, an old man had 
been buried intentionally in the floor, crouched as so many savages 

This phase also has a wide distribution, from the south of 
England to Spain and Portugal, Algeria and Tunis, the plateau 
edge of the Nile valley and the Syrian margin of Arabia; eastward 
too through mid- Europe as far as Hungary, south Russia* and the 
Caucasus; and the style of the new implements Is still very uni- 
form. But outside these limits, l Mousterian* settlements have not 
been found as yet, whereas Acheulian and Chellcan implements 
are common in South Africa^ and even further afield; and it is 
possible that it is to this period that we should assign a great 
divergence between human experiences within and beyond this 
' Mousterian ' area, for reasons to be stated later (pp. 4750). 

Like their implements, the men of this Older Palaeolithic Age 
are of very uniform type; and as this 'Neanderthal' type differs 
markedly from all subsequent varieties of men and also from the 
older but more modern-looking type represented by the Piltdown 
skull and some other finds of various early periods, it must be 
noted briefly at this point. Into the difficult question of its place 
in the human genealogy, this is not the place to go. Its distribution 


definitely human chin. Well represented by examples from Britain, 
France, and as far east as Predmost in Moravia,, this is a^type in 
which not only "there are no salient features which cannot be 
matched among the living races of the present day/ but it remains 
the predominant element among the modern inhabitants of se- 
cluded districts such as the Plynlimrnon moorland in central 
Wales; it is common still in the west of Ireland, in the Dordognc, 
in Sardinia, about Guipuzcoa in Spain, and in parts of Tra-os- 
Monte5 ? and has been noted in the oases south of Algeria and Tunis, 
and among Egyptians, Somalis, and elsewhere in north-eastern 
Africa, The numerous earlier allusions to 'Neanderthaloid' indi- 
viduals in modern European populations probably refer to these 
Aurignacians, who look 'primitive* enough when contrasted with 
the majority of modern men, but are separated by almost, as -great 
an interval from the real Neanderthal type. From characteristics 
of these survivors it is possible to supplement the evidence of the 
early skeletons. The forehead is narrow, with marked hollows in 
the temples, above the heavy eyebrows; the orbits are long and 
narrow, the cheeks are high and broad. The nose is broad, the 
jaw prominent, and the chin rather weak; the stature is low, the 
carriage loose and ungainly, and the arms very long: the hair, eyes, 
and complexion are dark, and the whole body is very hairy. In 
some individuals, the resemblance to a common type of aboriginal 
Australian is well-marked; and the similarity between Aurignacian 
skulls in Europe and the prehistoric skulls from Lagoa Santa, in 
Brazil and other remote localities round the margins of South 
America, suggests that this type had once almost as wide a dis- 
tribution as that of the older types of implements. It does not 
however seem to have been recorded, as those have been, from 
tropical or southern Africa; and its extreme hairiness and the wavy 
texture of individual hairs distinguishes it altogether both from 
the Negroid and from the Mongoloid breed- 

With the occupation of western Europe, therefore, by Auri- 
gnacian Man begins a continuous series of events and material 
remains running on to modern times* There are moments in this 
series where continuity of civilization cannot be directly traced, 
but continuous descent is sure, and therewith continuity of tradi- 
tion, which above all other human characters engages the atten- 
tion of historians. Other breeds of man have intruded later, as we 
shall see, from the south-east along the Mountain Zone, and from 
the north-east as the Siberian forest extended towards the Volga 
basin; but in western Europe, Aurignacian man has never been 
wholly superseded, and still forms coherent groups such as the 


Plynlimmon moorlanders, and the secluded settlements already 
mentioned in Spain, Portugal, and Algeria. 

We are confronted however at this stage with a new turning 
point of advancement, the participation of more than one distinct 
breed of man in a single tradition of culture, and in exploitation 
of the same region. For, side by side with this Aurignacian type, 
at least two other varieties of man made their appearance in west- 
ern Europe during the warmer and drier period now in question. 
One of these, represented by the * Cro-Magnon ' skeletons, is both 
less widely distributed, and of larger and more modern-looking 
build; and has left, like the Aurignacian, its descendants among 
the modern population of France, Spain and North Africa, and 
also (according to some observers) round the western Baltic, Its 
genefal similarity with the Aurignacian has led to the presumption 
that it spread likewise from the south-west. 

The other type, distinctly negroid, is best represented by skele- 
tons from the Grimaldi cave near Mentone. There can be little 
doubt of its African affinities, and there are two other indications 
of such African types in Europe : a pygmy breed of somewhat 
negroid appearance, from an ill-dated deposit at Schaffhausen, 
near Constance; and the well-marked steatopygy which character- 
izes negroid Bushmen and Hottentots of South Africa,, and of 
some other negro breeds further north, and is represented in 
European drawings and sculptures of the female figure from Auri- 
gnacian times to the neolithic art of Malta. Steatopygy however is 
not an exclusively negroid character, and as it has been observed 
among the living in the same secluded districts along the western 
Pyrenees as the Aurignacian individuals already mentioned, all 
that results from the Grimaldi and Schaffhausen finds is that 
African varieties either had not yet entirely disappeared from 
southern Europe, or occasionally returned thither during periods 
of exceptional warmth* In general, however, it may be assumed 
that the present climatic zones were henceforward fairly well 
established; and that negro man, in the mass, did not range north 
of the Sahara desert, nor, except sporadically as now, along the 
Atlantic seaboard of North Africa. 

*The mode of life of * Aurignacian * man differed, no less than 
his build, from that of the Mousterians whom he superseded; and 
there is no reason for an archaeologist to dispute the consensus of 
anthropologists that there is no trace of intercourse between the 
two types* If they met, it was as independent competitors for the 
means of subsistence; and the almost total disappearance of Mous- 
teriati man after the arrival of Aurignacian, suggests that it was 



'war to the knife' between them. The Tasmanians had no better 
fortune, after the arrival of Europeans in their country; and while 
the Tasmanians were rather less brutish than Mousterians, Euro- 
pean culture claims some advance over Aurignacian. 

Aurignacian industry shows great superiority over Mousterian. 
Flint implements are fashioned no longer from cores, but from 
selected Hakes, and are trimmed by careful flaking on both sur- 
faces., not on one only as heretofore. There are special types for 
boring and graving, knives adapted for a drawing-cut, and chisels 
for push-scraping. And the uses of all these are illustrated by an 
increasing quantity of bone tools, some of them shaped to be 
hafted with wood. There are bone dress-pins, beads and pendants; 
and bone whistles suggest concerted signals for action at a dis- 
tance. We may infer that men hunted now in a horde, and obeyed 
a leader; and that women took some pains with their attire. 

More noteworthy still is the beginning of pictorial art; en- 
gravings on bone and eventually carvings in relief and in the 
round; larger drawings and paintings on the walls of caves* The 
subjects are the animals most hunted by man, as their remains 
in his settlements show, reproduced with a sympathy and accuracy 
of observation, and a vigour of draughtsmanship and modelling, 
which have rarely been equalled. Human figures are rarer; usxntlly 
representing women, with rather prominent jaw, long-braided 
hair, and frequent steatopygy. Both men and women arc usually 
shown very hairy, and are seldom clothed, except when they mas- 
querade in complete hides of animals* A late and perplexing class 
of linear designs may represent huts or other constructions of 

This civilization extends in time from the beginning of the 
interglacial period already mentioned, until far on into the last 
recurrence of glacial or rather pluvial conditions, for the fourth or 
'Warm' glaciation was a comparatively small affair. It passes 
through several phases, Aurignacian in the special sense; Mag- 
dalenian, a well-marked regional culture of the Atlantic coast 
plain, best illustrated in the Dordogne cave of La Madeleine, 
which belongs to the beginning of a late spell of austerity; and 
Azilian, first identified in a remarkable cave in the foothills of the 
Pyrenees, which shows Magdalenian art and industry much de- 
generated, and only retrieved in interest by its use of painted 
symbols to distinguish hoarded pebbles of uncertain use. It is the 
first advance from delineation of objects to the visual representa- 
tion of ideas. 

On some sites in France, between Aurignacian and Magdalenian 


deposits, which in general form a continuous series of develop- 
ment, otcur fresh and very characteristic types of implements best 
represented at Solutre, near Macon, where hearths and burials of 
their makers lie immediately over a vast deposit of horse-bones 
marking the climax of the dry steppe regime, and probably some 
kind of late-Aurignacian slaughter-ground. Their graceful 'laurel- 
leaf and Svillow-leaf ' blades, single edged knives, and one-shoul- 
dered points suitable for missiles,, economize labour by skill in the 
choice and manipulation of material, and might be mistaken for a 
high quality of neolithic work. This use of missile weapons is 
itself a new invention, appropriate to the hunters of so swift an 
animal as the horse. Ivory beads, in country now devoid of ele- 
phants, suggest either wide range of movement, or some form of 
exch^fhge* Sketches of animals, on pebble and bone, and hoards 
of yellow, red, and brown colouring matter, indicate artistic tastes; 
insignia and whistles imply organized action against swift and in- 
telligent game. It has even been suggested that Solutrean horses 
were tame; but no horse-bits have been found, nor proof of any 
special breeding. 

This Solutrean episode is noteworthy because here for the first 
time we have intrusion of one culture, abruptly and temporarily, 
into the region where another was in process of development. And 
as this intrusion occurs at the climax of a cycle of dry continental 
climate when conditions were most uniform and the obstacles of 
forest, river, and morass were minimized, it has been commonly 
interpreted as due to the intrusion of fresh people of the tall heavy- 
built long-headed stock represented by individuals from Brunn 
and Predmost in Moravia. Whence these people and their culture 
originated is not yet clear, as no human remains can be identified 
as theirs. Their flint technique, as has been already noted, suggests 
that they inherited Acheulian tradition, and it is possible that this 
tradition survived somewhere further east, while central Europe 
and parts of the west were passing through the Mousterian de- 
cadence and receiving Aurignacian culture from the south-west. 
So severely continental a climate in western Europe suggests 
austere drought further inland, and accords with the deep accu- 
mulations of loess over the greater part of the northern flatland, 
during late palaeolithic times. It was certainly a good country to 
leave. The lack of Solutrean remains south of the Pyrenees (except 
one isolated find at Altamira), and their comparatively frequent 
occurrence in lower Austria, Bohemia, Hungary a&d eastern 
Poland, almost preclude the alternative of a southern origin, which 
was formerly thought possible; and the striking resemblance of 



certain Nile valley implements, which has been adduced in favour 
of this, must be taken in connexion with the similar workihanship 
of the earliest implements of neolithic Susa (which will be "dis- 
cussed on p. 85); and would be explicable by just such an 
exodus southward from the north-eastern steppe, as has brought 
nomad raiders more than once from Turkestan to Mesopotamia 
and the borders of Egypt within historic times* We shall see 
reason to suppose, later on, that the earliest neolithic people of 
the south Russian steppe, and probably also of the Danubian 
region, may be descendants of these Solutrcan hunters, withdrawn 
as rapidly as they had come, when the Magdalen ian climate 
reafforested the western plains, and restricted their hunting 
grounds. Another small group of Solutrean remains is notable as 
the first indication of man's presence in Scandinavia, the soxfchern 
promontory of which must therefore have been released at least 
temporarily from the ice-grip; and there seems reason to believe 
that there may be Solutrean blood in the earliest men of that 
region whose remains have been preserved; though their date is 
very much later. Indeed, at any period when the forest zone was 
restricted to the foothills of the Carpathians and the central 
German highlands, there was no physical obstacle to the move- 
ments of hunting hordes between the shores of the Black Sea 
and Caspian, and those of the Baltic, or the margin of the 
Scandinavian ice-sheet, 


On the other hand, the steadily increasing moisture of the Mag~ 
dalenian climate restricted the habitable areas; for the forest en- 
croached on the hunting ground, and horde-hunting tribes do not 
easily adapt themselves to forest life. Arts and industries degener- 
ated, especially when the antlers of the reindeer gave place to the 
less workable tines of the forest-ranging deer, as the material for 
harpoons and spearheads* The barbed harpoons themselves betray 
the growing importance of fishing, as the rivers increased in size, 
The abundance of miniature flints, at Tardenoise and many similar 
sites, suggests that wooden clubs or spears were armed with them, 
as was customary later in the Alpine lake-dwellings; and indicates 
that timber was more plentiful* 

Then, for causes which are still obscure, the distinctive * Cap- 
stan' type of culture, which we have already seen to have been best 
and earliest represented near Gafsa in Tunis and widely distri- 
buted from Tripoli to Morocco, spread northwards through Spain 


and France (where its local varieties have been commonly known 
as 'Caiftpignian') into Belgium: it shows a revived interest in flint 
work, and some of its forms recall a far older technique, which 
had certainly lasted long in north-west Sahara, and apparently 
also all across north Africa. This early African style has some 
resemblance to the Mousterian; and we may compare the relation 
already suggested between the Acheulian and Solutrean tech- 
niques. In any case the Campignian style was of southerly origin, 
and marks a last palaeolithic attempt to reoccupy the west of 
Europe, perhaps during some spell of drier weather. But this 
adventure failed, like the Solutrean irruption, and Campignian 
survivors merged in the disorganized remnants who harboured in 
cave shelters in Spain and the south of France, in open settle- 
ment on the downs along the Marne and Somrae and in Belgium 
(where there is some reason to believe that at Flenu and Spicnncs 
there was also immigration of rude tribes from the north-east), 
and in fishing and hunting stations along the Atlantic coast from 
Portugal to Scotland and Denmark. 

Here immense refuse-heaps of shells, bones, and implements 
mark a last stage of collapse of the old hunting folk, like the 
modern Yahgans of Terra-del-fuego and the * Strandloopers ' of 
Cape Colony. These 'kitchen-middens' represent a long period, 
during which the interior of the continent was for the most part 
forest or swamp, and men hunted or gathered shellfish along the 
strand without wandering far, except occasionally seaward for 
fishing. Only three almost accidental acquisitions betray some 
overlap between the desperate state of these survivors of the Old 
Stone Age and the new world which was coming into being within 
the dreaded oak-forest. The dog, in this extremity, became man's 
messmate and fellow-hunter; occasional implements of neolithic 
fabric were acquired somehow, and refurbished by flaking as if in 
mere ignorance of their proper handling; and the clay linings of 
old leathern cups and bowls, accidentally burned at first and there- 
by hardened in the fire, gave a first notion of pot-making, to be 
imitated by degrees, but without improvement of form. All three 
discoveries suggest contact, at least occasional, with some other 
kind of man, to whom forest and swamp were familiar, and habit- 
able. And both forest and swamp contained such men, as we have 
now to see* 

Further north, the swamp, engulfing by degrees much that had 
been tundra and cold steppe, north of the central German high- 
lands, had long since been assisted in its dreary advarice by con- 
siderable subsidence of the whole of north-west Europe, so that 


the period during which the Scandinavian ice-sheet shrank finally 
back, and exposed the south promontory of Sweden, waS one in 
which the Baltic was an open gulf of an enlarged North Sea "that 
washed the 'hundred-foot terrace* of its Scottish coast. The silt 
set free by the annual thaws varied slightly in quality, as the season 
changed^ and the banded clays which it formed in this Baltic gulf 
form an uniquely continuous record, so minutely graduated that 
it has been possible to reckon within a few centuries the interval 
between then and now. From this vast natural chronometer it 
would appear that the coast of Scania was released about 12,000 
years ago, and northern Sweden about 5000 years later. The re- 
lease of the north German lowland was of course rather earlier, 
perhaps about 15,000 B.C. Those inshore * Yoldia* clays, so called 
from the chief marine shell which they contain, were later raised 
above water so far that the Danish archipelago became dry land, 
and the Baltic a lake wherein Ancyfas and other freshwater shells 
superseded the marine Yoldia. 

This rise greatly increased the swamp-covered area, and seems 
to have permitted the westward spread of a peculiar culture, best 
illustrated by the Maglemose settlement in eastern Denmark* 
Afloat or stranded^ according to the season, a raft was constructed 
of pine trunks from the coniferous forest fringe which encroached 
on the swamp margin as it rose and dried; and from this precarious 
home men fished and hunted, of a distinct breed which seems to 
have moved westward from the cold steppe of northern Eurasia, 
and may have been of ultimately Mongoloid origin. At its greatest 
extension, this type may have made touch with the Magdalenian 
hunters of France, if it be admitted that one of its men has been 
found with them in the Chancelade cave* But it borrowed little 
from them, and only in its retreat, when the forest restricted Its 
swampy hunting grounds, did it absorb something of the Mag- 
dalenian artistic spirit, perhaps from hunting parties out of the 
west who had wandered onto the north flank or the forest and re- 
mained there. "With the Maglemose culture may be connected 
other swamp-land settlements round Lake Ladoga and in the 
coastlands east of the Baltic; and it seems likely that a Mongoloid 
clement among the modern Finns> and probably the main strain 
of the Lapps, are descendants of these people* 

What forced the retirement of the Maglemose culture was no 
less the aggression of the sea than that of the continental forest. 
The Baltic became open gulf again, rather more so than at present^ 
for it is to this phase that the ^o-foot terrace * of Scotland belongs* 
Marine shellfish entered, such as the periwinkle^ which gives its 


name to this L//#mr^-stage; and following them the shellfish-eat- 
ing folk of the kitchen-middens wandered along the north German 
coa^t as far as Lettland, where the pine forest closes upon the 
shore. Here they persisted long; and the miserable Fenni described 
by Tacitus in the first century A.D. may well be a last remnant of 

The swamp-culture of the north-east, as will be seen from 
this sequence of events, coexisted with a considerable part of 
the palaeolithic decadence. At least two minor advances of the 
snow-cap of the Alps can be traced during the long withdrawal of 
the Scandinavian ice-sheet, and the general mitigation of the 
climate of western Europe was to this extent delayed and 
interrupted. It would probably be safe to place the Maglemose 
culture at about the same period as the spread of Campignian 
influences northwards over France, and it is certainly older than 
the kitchen-middens, since these crowd closely on the modern 
coastline, which was submerged in the Maglemose period. 

The part played in north-western Europe by the swamp-culture, 
and by those alien men from the north-east who are its repre- 
sentatives, was but slight and of short duration. The continental 
forest on the other hand, which had been spreading intermittently 
across Europe, northward and westward in the wake of the re- 
treating ice-sheet, fringed by birch, hazel and pine, but itself com- 
posed mainly of oak and other deciduous trees, with the zone of 
beech, walnut, and chestnut following on an average some five 
hundred miles behind the pines, had reached and smothered all 
country where trees could grow, as far as the Atlantic seaboard, 
and southern Britain at least, by a date which may roughly be 
estimated not far short of 7000 B.C. The palaeolithic remnant 
had retreated before it till only the kitchen-midden folk survived 
on the very strand-line, and discontinuously even there. In the in- 
terior, a few exceptional moorlands, bleak downs, and the larger 
expanses of thirsty loess in the Rhine and Danube basins and in 
the north German plain, remained comparatively treeless oases 
where hunting folk might live. And if this had been all, the Old 
Stone Age might have passed out of human experience, a withered 
b?anch of the 'Tree of Life. 1 

That this was not so is due essentially to two factors. One is the 
sequence of climatic belts already noted, which provides that a 
northward shift of the westerly winds is accompanied by commen- 
surate though not necessarily equal shift of the * Mediterranean ' 
and * desert-zone* climates, and consequently by ampler* accom- 
modation for human activities of the Eurafrican type. The other 








WHAT then was going 021, meanwhile, within the Highland 
Zone? For several reasons, evidence from this region is 
very scanty. Much of it is ill-explored from every point of view; 
still more and especially in its best explored west-end where 
lateifrperiofls are exceptionally well exhibited and have been care- 
fully studied is out of reach for the same reason as is so much the 
evidence for Interglacial man elsewhere; namely that the nearer we 
approach the centres of glaciation, the more completely do later 
glacial deposits cover the surfaces of the earlier; so that in Switzer- 
land and south Germany, for example, human record hardly begins 
before the neolithic age. Further south-east the scale of acci- 
dent is loaded the other way: for, in proportion as glacial action 
passes Into pluvial, it is not excess of deposits but the wholesale 
removal of them by rain-fed torrents that limits observation. A 
very large proportion of the land surface of Asia Minor, for in- 
stance, has no 'surface deposits/ in the ordinary sense, at all; even 
in the greater valleys, which are themselves rare, the upper terrace 
gravels have been severely dissected; and the lower have been 
covered by alluvium, deposited often within historic times. 

Consequently, it is almost exclusively by inference from other 
data, such as the distribution of racial types to-day, and certain 
indications of the course of events in immediately prehistoric times, 
that the prehistory of this great region must be reconstructed pro- 
visionally. Limiting conditions are supplied by the climate, vege- 
tation, and consequent mode of existence imposed here upon man 
in general. 

Like all other highlands this literally * Alpine* Zone has always 
Imd a cooler and moister climate than the lowlands north and south 
of it; and in periods when the submerged areas on its Mediterra- 
nean and Sarmatian flanks were extensive, this humidity was greatly 
accentuated, It must be inferred from this that the whole region 
has been predominantly and persistently a forest area. General 
changes of temperature would replace subtropical by temperate or 
subarctic species, but would not necessarily alter the forest area. 


A period of general drought would draw the forest margin inwards 
and upwards among the foothills; a pluvial period would expand 
it into the plains; and a heavy snow-cap would devastate it amdng 
the peaks and ridges 5 and down the glaciated valleys. But none of 
these agencies would avail to destroy the forest regime altogether; 
that catastrophe was reserved for the hand of man; and even man 
has not devastated it wholly as yet. 

It follows that the grassland and parkland, fauna, whether African 
or Arctic, which is so widely associated elsewhere with the first 
signs of man's presence,, did not pervade the Highland Zone at 
all generally. In alluvial valleys, and in the large interment plains 
and forelands, such as the Danube valley, which are characteristic 
of the region and were reserved to grassland by their mantle of 
interglacial loess, it was possible for small herds of elephants to 
wander, as they did still in north Syria in the twelfth century B.C.; 
and for the lion to maintain himself as he did in Palestine until, 
at least, the tenth century,, in Macedon until the fifth, and in the 
Mesopotamian foothills until the present time. But these animals 
were never characteristic of the great mass of the highland: their 
place was taken by bear, wolf, and ruminants large and small. 

Man, hunting in the open, as he hunted in the lowlands of 
western Europe, or on the great steppes and parklands, had there- 
fore no inducement to occupy the forest area: at most his mode 
of subsistence brought him along the larger rivers such as the 
Danube, and its tributaries. It is significant that all the earlier 
individuals whose remains have been found hitherto within the 
Highland Zone are of the Neanderthal type; that the only large 

froup of Neanderthal men hitherto recorded is that from tlie 
rapina cavern in the headwaters of the Save; and that almost all 
the Neanderthal men have been found, along the western outliers 
of the highland core of Europe, To draw conclusions from the 
distribution of so few examples is risky, and the fragments from 
Kent's Cavern and one of the Gibraltar caves impose caution 
already; but there is another reason for expecting that the Nean- 
derthal type may be found to represent an early forest man, differ- 
entiated by his surroundings-, as well as by long descent,, from his 
Aurignacian contemporaries on the grasslands and parklands ouf- 
side. Whatever the relations of Neanderthal man to 'the Highland 
Zone, the Aurignacian stock at all events seems to have originated 
elsewhere, and to have only penetrated it locally and 'marginally* 
Here again, however, it is possible that Aurignacian relics 
scattered nearer its core may have been obliterated by the last 
outspread of glacial debris. And these last glacial deposits are 

sufficiently widely distributed to show that in the period which in 
westerti Europe is that of transition from palaeolithic to neolithic 
culture, practically the whole of the main highland was divested, 
not only of any human population it may have harboured inter- 
glacially, but of all save the most alpine vegetation. In any case 
we know enough about the changes of climate within the glacial 
period, to presume wide oscillation of contrasted types of man, 
as the forest spread or shrank again. 

As the highland was surrounded from north-east to south-west 
by tundra and cold steppe, while southward and eastward its slopes 
were washed by Mediterranean and Pontic Seas, there was only 
one avenue by which, when the climate was mitigated finally, it 
could be rgoccupied by that sequence of plants and animals which 
it exhibits now. This avenue is from the south-east, and consists 
of the long Asiatic continuation of the Highland Zone itself; for 
the Hellespont * river, * as Greek geography rightly named it, 
offered no real obstacle, and the occurrence of alpine flora in Crete 
and even in the larger Cyclades illustrates the regional continuity 
between the highland shores of the Archipelago itself. 

We have therefore to conceive the Highland Zone as a single 
great region, peninsular and self-contained; thrust westward into 
the heart of Europe from its Armenian summit, where it joins, 
base to base, its twin eastward promontories, the north Persian 
ridges and the Zagros escarpment south-eastward, and the diminu- 
tive but vitally important southward causeway through Syria into 
south Palestine. North of the Armenian mountain knot, and inti- 
mately associated with it, in climate, flora and fauna, lay the trans- 
verse ridge of Caucasus, steep-fronted towards Sarmatian seas or 
their flatland bed. 

Though we have no direct evidence yet as to the older human 
population, the modern inhabitants of this Highland Zone give an 
important clue, and the known course of events in the long neo- 
lithic and chalcolithic periods confirms that clue impressively. 
From end to end, the dominant type in historic times is distinct 
and characteristic; interrelated by well-marked broad-headedness 
and high-headedness; by wide and high orbits, set level or droop- 
ihg outwards, with almost no trace of brow-ridges; by broad cheek- 
bones and palate; by a characteristic wide square jaw with its * 
hinge-ends long, massive, and rising nearly at right angles with 
the plane of the teeth. It has broad shoulders and hips, broad hands 
and feet, with thick wrists and ankles, and a generally thickset 
build; dense parchment-like skin, sallow in the shade, and leathery 
under the weather; eyes hazel or brown, dark brown wavy hair, 


long In both sexes and very copious on the body, with profuse beard 
in the men. Its nearest affinities are with the other white-skinned 
and wavy-haired types, and with these it has formed numero'us 
intermediate varieties 3 within which its own bodily features appear 
to be in the Mendelian sense * dominant, 1 so that, once introduced 
into a region, it tends to persist and become accentuated with time, 
Its purer varieties are all found within the Highland Zone: its 
occurrences in north-west Africa, Spain, and the Canaries are not 
sufficient to establish the south-western origin formerly proposed; 
and the broad-headed strains which connect it north-eastward with 
the Mongoloid population of the Eurasiatic woodland, whose 
other physical features are very different, may be attributed 
rather to admixture between independent types spreading in op- 
posite directions, than to any propagation of such strains inter the 
Highland. The * Alpine' type in fact may be regarded as essentially 
of Alpine origin. 

On account of its great width, this type of skull was long classed 
with the Mongolian; but the general build and lofty proportions 
of the brain-case, and still more the peculiarities of the face and 
jaw ? should have precluded this; and the absence of skin pigment, 
the wavy hair, and the copious beard and body-hair, force the con- 
clusion that we are dealing with a stock of quite other origin, more 
likely to be akin to the other * white* races, b>ut nevertheless strongly 
contrasted with these, in its head-form and bodily build. 

Moreover, between the highland home of * Alpine* man, and 
the still loftier plateaux, which we have seen reason to regard as 
the Mongoloid * cradle/ the narrow but gigantic ridges of the 
Hindu Kush and Pamirs have been long and almost continuously 
glaciated, as we have already noticed; their flanks are dissected by 
ancient transverse gorges; and below ice-level there Is vast extent 
of dense Inhospitable forest, fed, like the snows above them, by 
wet monsoon winds. Such human elements as have worked their 
way round this vast ice-cap since its last contraction have moved 
wholly from west to east, not from the Mongolian habitat into the 
Alpine; and Mongol admixture in highlands west of the Hindu 
Kush can always be traced to another and quite recent origin^ 
namely to nomad pastorals Intruded transversely from the low* 
lying grasslands of Turkestan, which m all but the latest phases 
of the Sarmatian sea lay submerged and therefore as Impassable 
as the snow-cap. 

Enough seems to be known of the correlation between diet and 
the form of the jaw, and of the pull of the jaw-muscles on the tem- 
poral and parietal region of the skull, to warrant the suggestion 


that the peculiar combination of a short and massive jaw, suited 
rather Tor crushing than for cutting or tearing, with a musculature 
soTeeble as to be accompanied by almost no lateral compression 
of the brain-case, points to a long-continued mode of subsistence 
quite different from that of the carnivorous hunters of the steppes 
and parklands of Eurafrica. And we have already seen that the 
Highland Zone has necessarily been at all periods more or less 
completely a forest area, ill-adapted to maintain the large land- 
animals of the parkland except quite locally and sporadically, but 
abounding in many kinds of trees and shrubs bearing fruits or 
nuts, from conifers to chestnut and walnut, and from cranberry, 
crab-apple and sloe, to the characteristic fleshy-fruited apricot and 
peach of Persia and Armenia, and the vine, mulberry, fig and olive 
whi&h are common to the foothills of the forest zone and the ever- 
green flora of the Mediterranean region south of it. We shall see 
reason also to suspect that the first domesticated grasses, wheat, 
barley, and millet belong to genera which inhabit this same mar- 
ginal belt between the forest and the southern grasslands; and 
that they were cultivated by men of Alpine stock as far west as 
the Swiss lake-basins, and as early as we have any evidence of 
modern man in that section of the highland (p. 72). 

In this connexion it is perhaps worth noting, that Greek eth- 
nology, which so often formulates conclusions which it has been 
reserved to modern observers to substantiate, clearly distinguished 
between an earlier phase of subsistence, that of the * nut-eating' men 
(ySaXaz/^c^ctyot az/8/>es), and a later 'meal-eating* culture (az/Spes 
aX^Tya-rat); and that, in a very ancient stratum of Greek myth and 
ritual, the Power to whom the gift of grain-food was ascribed 
was worshipped with sacrifice of the pig, a typical forest-ranger. 

But within the Highland itself, the Alpine type varies, and the 
actual distribution of its principal varieties gives a clue to its prob- 
able cradle-land. Most accentuated is the 'Armenoid' variety, of 
the Ararat mountain region, with a head characterized by very 
lofty vault and outward-drooping orbits, and so abruptly flattened 
behind, that it has been ascribed by some observers, both ancient 
and modern, to artificial deformation. This variety predominates 
throughout the central section of the Highland, and is also not un- 
common throughout south-eastern and east-central Kurope. Least 
peculiar in the two respects already noted and distinguished rather 
by its smoothly globular cranium, and by a jaw broad but not so 
angular, are the West European varieties, especially in AuVergne 
and Savoy, and the most easterly groups from nolth Persia to 
the Pamirs and beyond; and the general likeness between these 


remotest groups is in fact such as to suggest that they represent a 
quite early phase both of differentiation and of outward s r pread. 
Intermediate types, characteristic of east-central and south-eastern 
Europe, and commonly described as Dinaric 5 show this globular 
head becoming more angular and cubical; and have their counter- 
part in Caucasus, western Persia, and along the southern margin 
of the highland thence towards the 'Dinaric' area westward, with 
notable offshoots southwards through Syria, Their distribution 
suggests a later stage both of specialization and of dissemination, 
around the central area already described, where alone the develop- 
ment has attained to that extreme 'Artnenoid* phase whose dis- 
tribution is least wide and also apparently least early. 

The relative antiquity of these successive phases of growth and 
spread can be stated approximately; for the outermost western or 
'Cevenole 7 type made its appearance in the Alps and in France 
during the transition from late palaeolithic to neolithic culture, 
At Ofnet, in Bavaria, it made its appearance in the Azilian phase, 
mixed with Aurignacian people, and already interbreeding with 
them; eastward, on the other hand, the human remains from Anau 
show that no such * Alpine' type had reached the north margin 
of Persia until after the second desertion of this early settlement 
(p. 85). Similarly the broad-headed intruders into Egypt at the 
beginning of the dynastic series, and into Crete and the Cy chides 
at the beginning of the Minoan Bronze Age, belong to the second 
phase, which may therefore be dated about 40003500 B.C.: and 
the first known occupants of Cyprus, and of Troy, in the earliest 
Bronze Age are of the same type, Fully developed 'Armenoid* 
remains, on the other hand, do not seem to be found anywhere 
until the second millennium at earliest* 

At present, therefore, it seems safe to regard this * Alpine* 
group of broad-headed types as representing phases of a special 
development within the Armenian mountain mass, or rather (since 
this region was certainly subjected to severe glaciation during the 
Ice Age) within the mountain-girt plateau of Asia Minor imme- 
diately west of it; large enough, isolated enough, and at all relevant 
periods habitable enough to become the cradle of such a sequence 
of varieties; sufficiently well connected with large similarly quatf 
fied regions eastward and westward and sufficiently liable from 
its geographical position to periodic changes of climate, to serve 
as a reservoir of population, like the highlands of Atlas and the 
Iberian peninsula in earlier times, and like the Arabian and Eur- 
asian reservoirs later on. 

Surprise has sometimes been expressed, that even considering 


how little scientific research there has been in this region, traces 
of palaeolithic culture are still so rare here, especially in view of 
the quite common occurrence of neolithic implements of polished 
stone in all parts of it. There is however good reason why flaked 
implements should be in any case rare in such a region. Though 
fairly well adapted for attacking wild animals, cutting up game, 
and dressing hides, and even for shaping and decorating imple- 
ments of bone and antler, the flaked implement is comparatively 
ineffective for felling trees, splitting logs, dressing planks, or 
pounding roots, bark or nuts* Moreover, though a large part of 
the great flatlands consist of, or rest on, flint-bearing strata cre- 
taceous or derivative and are as open country as they actually 
are, mainly because these limestone surfaces are inhospitable to 
tree^ in the highland zone, on the other hand, these beds are 
either absent which accentuates its forest aspect, seeing how 
precarious is tree growth over limestone or so distorted, or even 
deficient in flint and chert, that the supply of this material was 
scanty, and (what was worse) discontinuous. Collateral evidence 
is that in Egypt, where timber was rare and exotic, the flake- 
technique persisted and underwent cumulative refinement from 
Solutrean to chalcolithic times; and that in the kitchen-middens 
of north-west Europe acquaintance with polished implements in- 
creases pan passu with the northward advance of oak-forest, dis- 
placing conifers, just as these and the dwarf-birch had previously 
invaded the cold steppe. A further point is, that even before ac- 
quaintance with the polished technique began, there is a complete 
revolution in the mode of employment of stone implements gener- 
ally. The tapering pyramidal point for stabbing, and the longi- 
tudinal edge for cutting or ripping, are supplemented, and even- 
tually replaced in the more massive implements, by the transverse 
edge for hacking and clearing, under shock (rather than pressure) 
applied to the butt-end. This is conspicuous in the Campignian 
technique, which will be remembered as marking a last palaeo- 
lithic aggression in the moist forest-ridden west. The form of the 
butt-end, too, frequently suggests the use of some form of haft; 
ajid hafting itself presumes familiarity with wooden staves and 
clubs, and therefore with parkland at all events. Again, in any 
region where roots and tubers formed any considerable part of the 
food supply, the mere act of breaking the ground with pick or hoe, 
whether of wood, of bone or antler, or of hafted stone, automatic- 
ally smooths the surfaces of the implement about the point or edge, 
and leads to a natural finish, familiar among the digging-hoes of 
shell which are used by some Pacific peoples, and among stone 


hoes from pre-Columbian sites in North America. From this it is 
but a single step to the artificial improvement of blunted or splin- 
tered edges by grinding, not by flaking; and certain implements 
from the Nile valley show every stage of this advance in technique, 
though they are always exceptional there, and late. On these 
grounds, the inference seems justified., that whatever other causes 
may have been in operation, forest life, and especially the hacking 
of timber and the grubbing-up of edible roots ? favoured the de- 
velopment of such types of stone implements, and methods of 
manufacture, asactually occur earliestandmost persistently through- 
out the Highland Zone, and are least and latest represented in 
comparatively treeless regions such as the Nile valley and the wide 
flatland of north Africa. ^ f 

It would be premature to correlate in more than the most t&nta- 
tive way the polished-stone technique exhibited in this region, both 
by catting, cleaving and grubbing implements, and by those for 
crushing and rubbing which so commonly accompany them, with 
the probability already noted, that the type of skull and jaw char- 
acteristic of Alpine man may result from long habituation to a 
diet of nuts, roots, and other vegetable foodstuffs needing steady 
mastication rather than the biting and tearing which meat re- 
quires, and so thoroughly received from the long highly-muscu- 
lated jaw ? and prominent incisors and canines both of negro man 
and of the long-skulled Aurignaclan hunters of Eurafrica and the 
north-west* But the coincidence is noteworthy, and the roughly 
concomitant spread of * Neolithic * culture and of * Alpine * types 
of man is more striking still. 

That the earlier stages of such spread should be ill-represented 
is only what might be expected in view of the prolonged glaciation 
and widespread diluvial deposits of those western sections of the 
Highland Zone which alone are adequately explored* But it seems 
clear that the advanced stage of neolithic industry which is repre- 
sented even in the earliest settlements around the Swiss and Italian 
lakes, which had an Alpine population, presupposes a long and 
homogeneous development; and the occasional introduction of 
implements in fairly advanced phases of this polished technique 
into the Danish kitchen-midden s ? which are the leavings of Aun- 
gnacian people, among a multitude of flaked implements of 
Campigniati and other late palaeolithic makes, suggests that in 
north-western Europe at all events there was just such an overlap 
of the older and the newer industries, as is proved for the long- 
" leaded and broad-headed stocks themselves by the mixed Azilian 
deposit, at Ofnet in Bavaria, which is of sufficiently late date to 

MAP 3 

offline treeless 1 areas" 
Coniferous forest 
Deciduous (broad leaved) forest 
Temperate gr/js-f lands 

merging into steppe 

MAP 4 




n by W, 6-AX. Jotoston !. Ealiv 


invite comparison with the earliest broad-headed remains from 
Grenellfe near Paris, and Furfooz in eastern Belgium, and with 
the ^earliest lake-dwellers among the Alps themselves. 


Formerly, when attention was still mainly directed to the various 
types of stone implements found accidentally in surface soil., the 
contrast between flaked and polished technique seemed to be of 
greater value as an indication of date, than jiow, when the long 
overlap in time of these two techniques has been established on 
evidence from tombs and stratified sites, and when the significance 
of each fabric is better understood, Though the terms * Palaeo- 
lithic** and '^Neolithic/ have remained in common use for the older 
and later phases of the Stone Age, they are now applied in a 
secondary sense, to denote strongly contrasted phases of general 
advancement; and it is important to realize wherein this contrast 
consists. The men of the Older Stone Ages took the world as they 
found it, and made little attempt to alter it. They chipped natural 
stones into weapons for cutting and stabbing; they wrapped them- 
selves in skins and furs stripped from their prey. But the animals 
which they hunted and the fruits they gathered were wild, their 
shelters were natural caves, they buried their dead (at best) in a 
hole in the cave floor. With the late exception of hafted spears, 
they had no notion of construction 1 , and no use for timber, or for 
any movable object not easily held in the hand. The sole hints of 
cooperation or of social order are occasional whistles, and carved 
staves which may have symbolized rank. We may probably fill in 
the picture from the habits of merely hunting peoples on the open 
lands of Siberia, North and South America, South Africa and 
Australia; except in so far as all these have acquired the dog, which 
cannot be traced back earlier than the kitchen-middens. 

The New Stone Age, from its first beginnings, reveals a quite 
different outlook on nature. Even the implements illustrate this; 
their materials are varied, and presume search and selection, me- 
thodical and gradual improvement, constructive skill in hafting, 
aTd appreciation of the elastic quality of wood, for long axe-helves, 
and above all for the bow, which appears first in the transitional 
rock paintings of Spain (p. 94). With axe and adze, man's do- 
minion over the forest was assured; and with chisel and saw, his 
mastery over the timber he had to fell. Loose stones he had already 

1 Some French observers, however, have interpreted certain linear designs 
in Magdalenlan caves as representing wigwams and pitfalls for game. 

C,AH. i 5 


piled together occasionally, at all events to conceal jEiis dead. Car- 
pentry and roof-construction were only a matter of time. To utilize 
other waste products of nature., fibrous twigs, grass, bark, fruit, 
rind and the like, for binding, wrapping, and eventually for plat- 
ters, bags,, and baskets, was another elementary step in the same 
direction, supplementing the use, which was already ancient, of 
hunters' debris, bone, sinew, hide, and fur; for man seems to have 
used up his own leavings before appropriating those of nature. 
The caulking of such vessels with another waste product, ubiqui- 
tous mud, led on to substitution of mere clay, hardened by fire to 
earthenware, for perishable skins and basketry. Other waste pro- 
ducts, nuts, kernels, pips, and grass seeds squandered after a meal, 
and found germinating in spoiled earth round old encampments, 
propounded problems of their own. It has been suggested^ too, 
that early beliefs connecting such germination with human life 
and death may have been suggested by unforeseen .growth of fresh 
plants over old graves. But this obviously did not occur till the 
graves were in the open, not in cave floors; and the whole notion 
that by deranging natural soil, natural vegetation may be sup- 
planted by a 'crop/ more edible and fertile, and of man's own 
selection, is quite outside the hunter's range of ideas. 

The other new notion, of captivating, rather than capturing, 
wild creatures, and making them domestic,- that is, *at home' 
around the camp, is less alien to the hunter*s thought, and in 
its simpler forms is not easily reconcilable with the plans of the 
plant-grower: between Cain and Abel, in the story,, there was early 
feud, for the grazing herd draws no distinction between natural 
and cultivated green-stuff, except to prefer the latter. But funda- 
mentally the pastoral creed is the same as that of the cultivators; 
* man's place in nature* is at the source of life, to multiply and 
replenish the earth, 

These various forms of exploitation increase subsistence, but 
they demand effort: Mn the sweat of thy face shalt thoti eat bread/ 
When the world is 'so full of a number of things/ as it becomes 
for either cultivator or pastoral, a human group is so far released 
from ^ the rigorous restrictions self-imposed on hunting-hordps, 
that it may increase its population not merely safely "but with 
advantage: many hands make light work. But many hands, 
many herds, and much store of foods which must be gathered 
at one harvest for the twelvemonth, mean much fear of attack 
from without; and other waste products, loose stones^ dead trees, 
mere soil, were piled into a ring-fence round the settlement. It was 
only gradually that unpenetrable defences challenged invention 


in the aggressor, and differentiated Implements of war from mere 

These principal aspects of invention, which is reason's ad- 
justment of the materials and the forces of nature to fulfil desires, 
all come into view as the New Stone Age dawns, and separate 
it from the Old. Of the other great inventions we have to wait long 
even for the next; when fire, already in use to harden clay, should 
be applied also to soften stone, and extract metals therefrom; and 
when animals already tame should yield man not only nutriment 
but a new source of power. Four others, on a higher intellectual 
plane, come only slowly into sights observation of the sun and 
moon in their seasons, first hinted by sundry circles and crescents 
in neolithic &rt, superseding the palaeolithic masterpieces of animal 
portraiture; the curiously abstract quality of nmch else in neo- 
lithic ornament, as if number, mass, and proportion were felt to 
have an interest of their own; a conception of value, which may 
fairly be presumed among people who, though sedentary, are 
found to have acquired, for whatever reason, commodities from 
afar like turquoise or amber; and a new self-consciousness and 
introspection, displayed in emphasis on details of technique in 
decoration, and in the choice of men and their acts and works, 
rather than natural forms, for pictorial record. 

Still higher aspects of advancement than these are even less 
easy to detect without risk of private interpretation. Whatever the 
first purpose of those emphatically feminine figures, whose neo- 
lithic types eventually come to be associated with the profoundest 
conceptions of early religion, their origin is not here, but long be- 
fore in Aurignacian time. The same applies to the first impulse 
to representative art of other kinds (in any magical implications 
which it may have had), in which Magdalenian draughtsmen are 
unexcelled; to the motives for careful disposal of the dead, which 
as a custom is at least Mousterian; and to the beliefs and emotions 
aroused by the primeval mystery of fire. All these we may take to 
have been already traditional at the close of the Old Stone Age : 
the New added only those fresh glimpses of the significance of life, 
wkich were suggested by experimental acquaintance with the be- 
haviour of animals and plants. Religious conceptions such as those 
of a * Good Shepherd ' or of the * Bread of Life ' can hardly have 
anticipated economic discoveries from which they draw their sym- 
bolism; while they may be but little subsequent. 

In estimating the significance of forest and dense parkland as a 
factor in the transition to the neolithic stage, the distribution of 
such conditions should be considered as a whole. The composition 


of actual forests in Europe shows them to have resulted from 
spread and coalescence around at least three centres. The clearest 
example of this is in the north-east, where the characteristic birches, 
pines and oaks of the Alpine Highland, spreading beyond the foot- 
hills of the Carpathians over central Russia, have met about longi- 
tude 45 ? a westward-spreading woodland composed of Siberian 
species. That their narrow zone interpenetration., once established 
by contact of their advancing margins, has remained in long equi- 
librium is shown by the distribution of early cultures, and varieties 
of man; all eastward of this zone being related to widespread 
Asiatic types, and nearly all west of it to Alpine, Danubian and 
Baltic. Only comparatively recently have Asiatic people succeeded 
in establishing themselves west of this zone, and acquiring un- 
familiar woodcraft. 

To the south-west the course of events has not been so clearly 
traced* The greater range of latitude here, and the wider variations 
of climate which the Atlantic seaboard has undergone, have per- 
mitted far greater oscillation. The woodlands of Spain and Africa 
Minor have been repeatedly continuous with those of west-central 
Europe, and have developed but few distinctive forms, so that 
their coalescence is harder to detect. The former existence of large 
forest regions between the Pyrenees and the Sahara is however 
established; the Spanish forest flora stands more closely related to 
the north African than to the Alpine; but deep interpenetration 
is shown on the one hand by the * Spanish' chestnut and walnut, 
which intrude from the Alpine highland, and on the other by the 
occurrence of evanescent *Lusitanian* types as far north as the 
British Isles. That the latest interpenetration was but recent is 
demonstrated by the comparatively narrow range of typically 
* Alpine' forms beyond the Garonne, and especially by the fact 
that some of the most important of them, like the chestnut and 
walnut, are notably serviceable to man. 

All considerations, therefore, drawn from the peculiarities of 
forest life, such as the neolithic skill to grind implements instead 
of chipping, and the exploitation of nuts and other tree fruits for 
food, apply in a measure to the forested highlands beyond fjhe 
Garonne, as well as to those of central and south-eastern Europe. 
In the same way, arguments based on the early development ' of 
agriculture along the south-eastern margins of the highland to- 
wards Mesopotamia and Syria, or in the Nile valley, apply also to 
the foothills of Atlas and Pyrenees, to the margins of the Iberian 
table-land, and to other well-watered coastlands of the west Medi- 
terranean; and account must be taken of ancient and persistent 


tradition that cereals were introduced into Greece by a Sicilian 
goddesS, and that wheat and barley grew wild in lands of the 
western sea. 

Similarly, the domestication of animals, though certainly very 
early in Egypt, Arabia, and Mesopotamia, cannot be assumed to 
be necessarily derived from these regions. On the one side, the 
breeds of domestic animals at Anau in the foothills between Trans- 
caucasia and Iran, and in early settlements along its western park- 
land fringe, are distinct from those of the * Ancient East/ On the 
other, those of western Europe, differing from both these groups, 
and no less from those of the Alpine lakeland, may be independent 
and Eurafrican. 

Most significant of all, whereas the earliest pottery of the 
'Ancient East* mainly copies the forms of gourd vessels, appro- 
priate to a region of large irrigable alluvia, traversing ill-watered 
and inhospitable flatland, those of the western Mediterranean, and 
of the whole Atlantic seaboard, exhibit intimate dependence on 
fine basketry, such as still supplements pottery for storage purposes 
throughout the Atlas region and Iberia, in fact wherever the char- 
acteristic esparto-grass dominates all open country, and furnishes 
unsurpassed material for this kind of gear. The Nile valley, lying 
towards the western edge of this esparto-region, participates in 
both techniques. In the earliest graves, pottery of indigenous 
stoneware models is associated both with swollen unornamented 
gourd-forms in polished redware and with dull brown or black 
plates and saucers, quite different in profile, and copiously incised 
with angular geometrical schemes as closely reminiscent of bas- 
ketry as the shapes of the vessels themselves* 

That this kind of evidence should come into the reckoning at 
all, is a measure of the gulf which separates the study of the Old 
Stone Age from that of the New; and attention must be drawn, at 
this point, to the fresh source of information as to human habits 
and activities which is derived from objects of baked clay. During 
palaeolithic times, almost the only evidence for man's mode of 
life is supplied by his implements of stone, and latterly of bone 
and antler; and for his artistic capacity, by the carved decoration 
of* these, and by the engraved and painted walls of his cavern- 
homes. Henceforward, though the successive types of implements 
remain of very great importance, their evidence is supplemented 
almost everywhere by that of pottery, more varied and far more 
expressive. There are special reasons for this eloquence of * pot- 
sherds.* First, clay is eminently plastic^ unlike stone, wood or fibre, 
it has no 'grain* or texture of its own; it is therefore^/?/?, and can 


be modelled Into any form characteristic of the natural ' grain' or 
texture of any other material; all objects of pottery are therefore 
literally figments of the potter's -will, fictions (to vary the phrasft) of 
his memory or imagination. 'Hath not the potter power over the 
clay?' But the potter, and still more those who will use his pots, 
are creatures of habit. A hunting or a pastoral people, if it makes 
pottery at all, will make its clay vessels like hunter's game-bags, 
or the leathern bowls and flasks of the nomad dairy; or forest-folk 
will imitate wooden bowls 3 or basketry; agriculturists,, strawplait 
or gourds. Moreover, the practice of primitive peoples suggests 
that sometimes pottery has originated accidentally, through" leaky 
vessels of these other materials,, temporarily caulked with clay, 
being dropped into a fire. For ? plastic as it is to begin with, clay 
once * fired' is unalterable^ whereas many materials which it irused 
to replace are perishable; it may even 3 in the case supposed, not 
merely retain the form of the basket of which it was the lining, 
but even the impress of the basketwork; examples of such im- 
pressions on early and primitive pottery are worldwide, and serve 
to record whole industries whose actual products have disappeared* 
But however indestructible in detail, pottery is so/rajf/fc, as to be 
practically irreparable, once broken ; consequently there is enor- 
mous waste, as every housekeeper knows, and accumulation of 
discarded fragments. It provides therefore exceptionally copious 
material, and as every fragment is an original work of art, the evi- 
dence of pottery justifies broader and surer generalizations than 
almost any other human document; every potsherd in any waste 
heap being the response of somebody's hand and brain to some- 
body's need, at the same time individual and communal, industrial 
and aesthetic. A further consequence of this fragility is that pottery 
is seldom carried far from the place of manufacture: its presence 
characterizes a settled mode of life, and signals the neighbourhood 
of a settlement; though on the other hand, the absence of pottery 
from any district is no proof of the nonexistence of a nomad popu- 
lation* The utter uselessness of pottery, once broken, except as 
extemporized scrapers, or as builder's ballast to level a new floor, 
is the main cause of its archaeological value; for where broken 
pottery is cast out of a settlement, there it is allowed to lie and 
.accumulate, layer over layer, later over earlier; so that the 'se- 
quence-dating' derived from such a rubbish-heap is as secure as 
the sequence of the fossils in the sedimentary rocks, and of the 
highest value as evidence for changes of style 3 that is to say* of the 
notions, industrial and aesthetic, of successive generations oir makers 
and breakers of pottery. As breakage and replacement arc con- 


stant, clay almost ubiquitous, and pot-transport risky, the pottery- 
series ift. any settlement is exceptionally continuous and coherent; 
the'smallest changes of style are recorded infallibly, directly, and 
immediately; and every other object cast upon the same waste- 
heap is conserved automatically in stratified order, and can be dated 
by the potsherds around it, between older ones below 3 and later 
ones above. See p. 1 1 3 sq. 

Further, being ubiquitous and plastic, clay is also cheap. It is 
the poor man's substitute for materials which he cannot afford. It 
may therefore record not only the equipment of daily life, but the 
fashionable shapes of articles of luxury, such as vessels of gold and 
silver* It is also the mean man's, subterfuge on occasions of cus- 
tomary sacrifice; to equip the dead, for example, with a cheap and 
durable imitation of valuable originals retained for the use of sur- 
vivors* This is the special interest of all funerary pottery, for it 
correlates each isolated * tomb-group* with the waste-heaps of the 
settlement to which it belongs. In general, therefore, the potsherds 
of any people record continuously and accurately the general cul- 
ture and style of successive periods; the local and daily variations 
both of needs and of the satisfaction of them; the more abrupt 
innovations resulting from intercourse with neighbours similarly 
recorded; and the revolutions due to immigration. Conquest, in 
particular, may leave its memorial in wholesale destruction, and 
clearance of the debris of war, and in collateral production, after- 
wards, of objects in distinct fashions 'peasant style' and 'palace 
style' for the respective use of old compatriots and new masters. 
And as it usually happens in simple societies that pot-making is 
women's work, supersession of an indigenous by an immigrant 
style is strong presumption that the newcomers brought their own 
women with them; whereas, if they intermarried with the natives, 
there may be perplexing combinations, for example of indigenous 
shapes and technique with imported ornaments, to please the 
master's eye. In either case, eventual coalescence of racial or social 
elements may be signalled by the rise of a new mixed style, which 
is sometimes of striking originality (see pp. 81, 87, 90, 97, 101). 


We have seen that the first indication of the westward spread of 
a new variety of man is the appearance of broad-headed indivi- 
duals, side by side with Aurignacian long-heads, in a remarkable 
burial-place in an Azilian cave at Ofnet in Bavaria, and in caves at 


Laugerie Basse and elsewhere in central France. Isolated ex- 
amples in several districts of Spain, of uncertain and pfobably 
rather later age, may indicate that the spread of forest conditibns 
had carried the same human movement far to the south-west; but 
allowance has to be made here for the effects of a later sea-borne 
movement which will be discussed in its place below (p. 104), 

Next, and far more significant,, because associated with fresh 
elements of culture, is the broad-headed population of the pile- 
dwellings which occupy all the principal Alpine lakes* Here or- 
ganized communities were occupying settlements on artificially 
constructed platforms supported by wooden piles driven into the 
lake bottom, and communicating with the shore by a gangway. 
These communities maintained themselves both by haunting and 
fishing, and by collecting wild fruits and nuts from the forests: But 
they also practised agriculture from the first, and must therefore 
have brought this art with them when they first ventured into 
lake-land* Their wheat ? barley, millet and flax are of the same 
species and varieties as were cultivated in the earliest known settle- 
ments on the Nile alluvium., and in the earliest stratum at Anau. 
Oats and rye, on the other hand, they did not grow, though the 
wild plants have a wide range in Europe* Perhaps they gathered 
them wild,, as people still gather them for food In outlying villages 
of Germany; but If so, it is odd that no grains of them fell 
overboard. Domesticated animals only became known here later; 
and this again corresponds with the sequence of events at Anau, 
Their implements include harpoons, perforators, and scrapers of 
botie and deer-antler perpetuating Magdalenian and Azilian forms, 
flaked flints like those of Azil and Taraenoisc, and especially many 
miniature flakes^ one use of which is here demonstrated by their 
occurrence mounted lengthways like saw teeth in wooden hafts* 
Early Egyptian reapers used sickles of the same construction* But 
along with these are numerous implements formed from natural 
pebbles of compact stone* selected for oval or cylindrical form, and 
improved either by splitting them longitudinally or by grinding a 
naturally wedge-shaped end on one or both of its faces to form a 
cutting edge. In^these tough or granular materials flaking is almost 
impracticable. Similar pebble-shaped implements with ground and 
polished edge are found in many regions, in surface soil and other 
post-glacial deposits, and mark the beginning of the New Stone 
Age wherever they occur. Gradually the grinding and polishing 
were applied to the whole surface of such implements to improve 
their symmetry, but it was long before oval or tapering pebble- 
shape at the butt-end was replaced by flat sides and more or less 


rectilinear profile. Flat edges In particular are a mark of advanced 
technicfue, and comparatively late date. Another important 
innovation is the perforating of hammer-stones and eventually 
of hammer-axes, effected first with sand and a blunt stick; later 
with a tubular drill of reed. A similar drill was used along the 
reed-fringed Nile at an early predynastic stage. 

The frequent fires to which the pile-dwellings were liable must 
have familiarized their occupants with the effects of fire on clay, 
even if they had not this knowledge already; and their pottery, 
which is found even on the earliest sites, Is so primitive that It may 
well be original. Much of It is clumsy and formless, but the more 
shapely pots take their forms almost exclusively from leather 
vessels. Atjfirst there is no attempt at ornament; later, modelled 
rims* and ridges, and roughly scratched patterns betray the 
influence of basketry and textiles, first of local, and later also of 
non-Alpine styles from the Rhine and Danube basins. 

The earliest lake-dwellers buried their dead ashore, In earth 
graves or slab-lined cists. But at a quite early stage it became cus- 
tomary to burn the bodies, and bury the ashes, with such personal 
ornaments as endured the fire, in a rough clay pot, closed with a 
saucer. As this custom of cremation destroyed direct evidence 
from skeletons, it prevents positive conclusions as to later changes 
of race; but, by drowning and other accidents, enough individuals 
escaped a regular funeral, to justify not merely the view that the 
population of the lake-regions remained broad-headed through- 
out, as it still essentially is, but the hypothesis that in most early 
periods peoples who burned their dead were probably of broad- 
headed ancestry. Later exceptions will be noted and discussed as 
they occur (pp. 81, 101). 

The sudden and widespread establishment of the lake-dwelling 
culture and of the broad-headed type almost explains Itself. From 
Its very construction, a lake-village could not be expanded inde- 
finitely, and consequently if its home population outgrew, super- 
fluous members had to go elsewhere and construct a fresh one. 
And as the Alpine lake-basins are interconnected both downstream 
and by passes between valley-heads, what may be described as 
longitudinal propagation was easy, both within the highland and 
along the rivers which issue from it. And in fact such movements 
have been traced, into the Danube valley, and beyond it into the 
rivers of the north German plain and the peat-mosses of the 
Danish peninsula; along the whole course of the Rhine and widely 
over northern France, Belgium, and Britain, where lake-villages 
were numerous, especially in mosses and bogs in Scotland and 


Ireland. Some of them remained in use until Roman times, as at 
Glastonbury, and even later still, changing their industries and 

arts, but not their structure or organization. c 

On the steep southern face of the Alps, the abrupt transition 
from highland to alluvial plain checked such expansion for long; 
but towards the end of the Stone Age a sudden movement spread 
lake-dwellings from Lakes Como and Maggiore as far as the main 
channel of the Po; a little later, when bronze was already in 
occasional use, a similar but more vigorous emigration from the 
eastern Alps occupied all the lower valley, crossed the main river, 
and advanced, in the specialized stream-bed settlements known as 
'Terremare* (from the use made of their debris as a fertilizer by 
the modern peasants),, as far as the passes of the Apennines. A few 
adventurous parties passed on into lower Italy, and one such settle- 
ment exists close to Taranto. Reserving the details of this pro- 
foundly important movement, for the chapter on prehistoric Italy, 
in VoL ii, it must be noted here that by bursting the triple barrier 
of Alps, fenland, and Apennine forest, which had hitherto se- 
cluded Italy, this migration of lake-dwellers established a con- 
tinuity of race and of culture between that peninsula and the 
tributaries of the middle and upper Danube, which has had 
profound influence throughout all later ages. It is a commonplace 
that the history of this peninsula is that of * Italy and its Invaders'; 
and the first of these invaders arc the Alpiae lake-folk, and their 
descendants in the *terremare* villages. 

Eastward, subsequent changes have been so numerous and 
far-reaching, that equivalents of these Alpine lake-dwellings 
are not easily found. Quite early examples occur as far cast as 
Laibach; later settlements widely on suitable sites throughout the 
Hungarian lowland; and the influence of their culture extends 
as far north as Bohemia, In Bosnia, the remarkable settlement at 
Butmir, and less famous sites in the same region, illustrate special 
adaptation of the pile-structure to dry valley-bottoms, in many ways 
analogous to Italian *terremare/ Herodotus, iti the fifth century 
B.C., graphically describes the pile-dwellings of Lake Prasias in the 
Strymon basin ; and the occurrence of pottery of typical lacustrine 
and *terremare' forms, in this part of Macedonia and elsewhere 
in the Balkans, confirms and amplifies his testimony- 
Further afield again, ancient descriptions of pile-dwellings in 
waterlogged valleys of North Syria and Georgia, unverified as yet 
by excavation, suggest that our Alpine lake-settlements are to be 
regarded as a westward section of a very large region of early and 
essentially homogeneous culture, adapted to the conditions of a 


moist forest-clad lake-land, such as Asia Minor and much of the 
highland region eastward of it must have constituted during the 
long * pluvial' period which was the counterpart of the Ice Age in 
Europe. The same climatic changes which have restricted the 
forests and displaced north-westward the forest-fauna and forest- 
type of Man have not only disrupted this area of culture, but have 
also destroyed much of the evidence of its former extent; for the 
torrential discharge of the modern seasonal rainfall has scoured 
out most of the alluvium from the valleys, leaving only the numer- 
ous early types of polished implements, in which this whole 
region abounds, though it is apparently devoid of chipped flints 1 , 
to testify to the former existence of such a culture. 

The actual area of continuous lake-dwelling culture has thus 
beei very much reduced by adverse physical changes, aggressive 
from the south-east. It has also been superseded, both on this side, 
and around the margins of its Alpine citadel, by other types of 
culture better accommodated to these changes, which (as we have 
seen in this extreme instance) have been on the whole by way of 
less moisture and greater warmth, and consequent curtailment of 
lake-land and forest. 


The first great change indeed, affecting the lake culture itself, 
is typical of what was going on. This is the introduction of do- 
mesticated animals: and as all these, in the Alpine lake-villages, 
are of breeds not derived from the wild species of the region, but 
identical with domesticated breeds of the Near East, ancient and 
modern, and with some of those known in neolithic Egypt, it may 
be inferred that their arrival in central Europe results either 
through exchange from tribe to tribe from the south-east, or 
through direct immigration of pastoral people possessing such 
flocks and herds. Both would be impracticable as long as a dense 
and continuous forest covered south-eastern Europe to the Car- 
pathians and the Hellespont. Either would be comparatively easy 
%$ soon as a drier climate, with more seasonal rainfall of the Hel- 
ladic and Mediterranean type 2 , began to break up the forests into 

1 Occasional reports of such implements, of Mousterian type, belong to a 
period so much earlier, that if verified they would not affect the impression 
created by the dearth of anything later. 

2 Mention must be made here of the cardinal discoveries of Roumanian 
and Russian pedologists as to the sequence of climate and types of vegetation 
along the outer face of the Carpathians and on the adjacent steppe. 


parkland and meadow; a process which is always accelerated by 
the presence either of porous limestones like those of the Dinaric 
and Balkan chains, or of the loess deposits which (as we have sen) 
cover so much of the lowlands of Hungary and Bulgaria, as well 
as of Rouznania, Galicia and Ukraine, 

Similar loess deposits occupy large areas of Moravia and Bo- 
hemia, of the Upper Danube and its northern tributaries, of the 
Neckar, Main 5 and middle Rhine, West of the last-named river 
lay the north-and-south barrier of the Jura, Vosges and Ardennes, 
accentuated by the denser woodland which is fed by the wet winds 
of the Atlantic seaboard, and still clothes their western slopes and 
masks the passes between them. These loess-lands had been the 
last prairie hunting-grounds of Magdalcnian and A/ilian man, 
as the wet forests of the transition period closed up, alon^ the 
highlands to the north, from the Carpathians to the Taunus and 
the Black Forest. When the neolithic period opened they were 
still occupied by long-headed folk only slightly modified from the 
late-palaeolithic Aurignacians, but distinguished from their rela- 
tives north and west of those forested highlands, by a fuller oval 
headform, less angular, and associated with other characters which 
persisted long, and only gave way gradually before the later ex- 
pansion of broad-headed Alpine foresters. Here were all the con- 
ditions for the spread either of pastoral or of agricultural folk, so 
soon as the loftier, and therefore more forest-bound regions to the 
south-east became passable. 

The evidence for such passage, and for the period at which it 
was achieved, is as usual twofold: from the copious relics of a new 
and distinctive culture, and from the physical remains of the people 
themselves during and after its introduction. 

The earliest neolithic culture of these wide and interconnected 
lowlands, from the Balkan lands to the headwaters of the Danube, 
and. the basins of the Neckar, Main, Upper Elbe and Oder, is 
curiously uniform in type. There are regular settlements in the 
open valleys, usually grouped in clusters within reach of a con- 
siderable stream* They combine pastoral with agricultural life, and 
possess the same primitive crops as the Alpine lake-folk, and the 
same herds as the lake-folk acquired eventually. Their habitual 
implements are of the split-and-ground pebble type, but show a 
characteristic improvement on those of the lake-folk, and of the 
great south-eastern region of the Balkan lands and Asia Minor, 
in that they are ground nearly flat on one face,, and only left 
rounded on the other. For timberworking 3 and still more for 
hoeing, this adze-like celt, set transversely in its haft, had obvious 


advantages, as with careful usage it maintained its own edge, like 
the shell-adzes used for sago-getting in Melanesia, and the convex 
maftock of the Levantine peasant. The pottery of these settlements 
consists mainly of small globular vessels, rather more than hemi- 
spherical, rounded below, and usually without rim or handle. There 
is no hint of imitation of any kind of structure such as leather or 
basketry, and the outer surface, smooth and uniform, is treated 
as a single open field for a continuous scheme of decoration which 
returns into itself, and has earned for this technique the nicknames 
of ' band-pottery' (Eand-keramikj Ceramique a rubans)^ and of 
the * free-field' style. The designs are rendered by continuous lines 
incised in the clay before firing; either rectilinear zigzags, or curved 
into lobes,^waves, or coils, sometimes rather complicated, and 
always quite irrespective of any limits but those imposed by the 
general shape of the pot. There is no attempt to emphasize or dis- 
tinguish its parts, for indeed it usually has none: at most there may 
be a collar-band following the edge of the opening. This is so 
different from the commoner 'skeuomorphic ' decoration of an 
object by enhancing its natural texture or structural elements (for 
example in the * western ' and * north-western y styles to be described 
later), and so closely resembles the * free-field 7 ornament employed 
by those modern peoples who make their vessels of gourds, 
whose natural surface is uniformly smooth and of imperceptible 
texture, that it has been suggested with much probability that 
the Danubian * band-pottery* likewise originated so, and that 
consequently its origin must be sought further south-east in 
regions, such as Asia Minor and Syria, where gourd-plants 
occur naturally, and have been in immemorial use, as the earliest 
pot-fabrics of these and adjacent regions attest. 

Here again allowance must be made for the known shift of 
climate, and account taken of the remarkable gourd-types of the 
first pottery of Cyprus, and less distinctively of certain early fabrics 
in the Cyclades and Crete, which like Cyprus lie under the lee of 
this continental area; and also of a distinct gourd-element in the 
neolithic pottery of Egypt, which is not aboriginal there, but 
intrudes itself at an early phase among indigenous forms mainly 
derived from vases of stone. Once again it looks as though we 
were witnessing such an exodus from Asia Minor, both to 
south-east and to north-west, as we have already had occasion to 
infer as a probable consequence of the desiccation of this section 
of the Highland Zone, and as indicated by the distribution of the 
varieties of broad-headed man (p. 61 sgl). We have only to add, to 
complete the evidence at present available, that it is during the 


period represented by the neolithic * band-pottery ' that we have 

the first Indications of the spread of broad-headed man 'among 
the population of the Danubian region. 

Northwards, as we have seen, this Danubian culture occupied 
the loess-lands of Moravia and Bohemia., and reached the middle 
Rhine- It also influenced temporarily a large area beyond it in the 
direction of Belgium* But as the heavily forested ridges of the 
Carpathians and the central German highlands limited its north- 
ward range, so the Vosges and Jura barred extension westward, 
and it was not long before all its Rhine-ward provinces fell under 
alien influence from the north-west, of which account will be taken 
later (p. 9 8 jy.). Southward, its influence is clearly perceptible in the 
later technique of the lake-dwellers; but as it never affected Italy, 
the migration of the 'terremare '-builders must have oceitrred 
before this phase. 

Further to the south., the large western tributaries of the 
Danube, and especially the Save, received this culture early and 
developed it in a rather special fashion which makes the results 
difficult to correlate with the main Danubian types* Not enough is 
yet known of this district as a whole, to determine whether the 
remarkably rich settlement at Butmir in Bosnia is typical or not, 
nor to assign it to its proper phase; but it seems certain that the 
spiral ornaments, extraordinarily varied and beautiful, which were 
in vogue there, are on the one hand a local and perhaps spontaneous 
elaboration of the curvilinear elements common to nearly all schools 
of the * free-field* style; on the other, that the Butmir style of 
pottery, once established, was in wide demand (as actual exports 
show) and had a range of influence even wider^ from Thessaly and 
Macedonia to the Carpathians, and eventually far beyond towards 
the Dnieper, It has even been thought, chiefly by Teutonic ob- 
servers., that the spiral decoration which became so popular in the 
Minoan Bronze Age of the Aegean may have resulted from con- 
tact with this Bosnian school; but the contrary view is widely held, 
and until the relative dates of Minoan and of Bosnian culture are 
better established, this question remains open, It may even be that 
the Bosnian culture, lying so near as it does to the Adriatic coast, 
may have stood in more direct relation than is usually supposed 
to the neolithic art of Malta and the west Mediterranean., which 
also makes striking and very early use of spiral decoration; but 
here too intercourse cannot be asserted yet; priority even less. 

Though the general culture, and especially the technique of 
implements and pottery, of the whole of this Danubian region 
shows generic similarities^ each principal district developed pecu- 


liarities of Its own, of which those of the Bosnian area are only an 
exceptionally striking example; and these idiosyncrasies became 
more marked as time went on. It may be inferred, first, that the 
various groups of people were on the whole sedentary, as their 
agricultural habit suggests. Then, from the very gradual spread 
of broad-headed folk, among a mainly long-headed population, it 
would seem that this type of civilization spread rather by inter- 
course than by conquest; from the open situation of the settlements 
and the rarity of weapons of offence, that they were in no great 
fear of disturbance; and from the frequency of their villages and 
tombs, and the repeated reconstructions of their huts, that this 
peaceful development lasted a long time. 

The sam gradual and pacific advance characterizes also the 
next ftoteworthy change. As long as culture remained purely neo- 
lithic, and in most parts for some while after, the pottery, if it 
shows any designed interference with the natural colour of the 
clay, is baked black with the aid of a smoky fire, or of charred 
vegetable matter in the clay itself, or of a dressing of graphite. 
The surface is burnished by friction, and the incised ornaments 
are eventually enhanced by a filling of white earth. But about the 
time of the first introduction of copper, an improved method of 
firing came into use which took advantage of the presence of iron 
oxides in the clay to produce a brick-red surface, or imitated this 
by a wash of more ferruginous clay. Burnishing and white-filling 
went on as before. Now the earliest copper objects, flat axe- 
blades, leaf-shaped daggers, awls, and dress-pins, repeat with 
only slight variation the forms characteristic of the earliest metal- 
age in predynastic Egypt, in Syria, and in Cyprus; and the infer- 
ence that the Danubian region was acquiring its higher industries 
from the south-east, by way of the Hellespont, is confirmed by 
the fact (p. 8 9) that all over Asia Minor, similar but more emphatic 
replacement of polished black-ware by red-ware accompanies the 
spread of metal-working. This is well illustrated in the stratified 
site at Hissarlik on the Hellespont, where the first city has the 
black-ware and the second the red-ware technique. And the fact 
th&t these two settlements are separated by a layer of natural soil, 
showing that this site was for a while uninhabited, confirms the 

general impression that whatever intercourse there may have been, 
om Asia Minor into Europe, at an earlier stage, it had ceased 
for a while, and was renewed (and with it the importance of the 
Hissarlik site) when the new metal-traffic was becoming frequent, 
and was eliciting a return traffic in amber from the Baltic shores. 
As the second city seems from its contents to have been destroyed 


not later than 2000 B.C. and to have existed for a long while before 
that catastrophe, we have here a rough lower-limit of the period 
within which this traffic was established; and the foreign objects 
found in this second city give further cross-references to the cul- 
tures of other regions, as far afield as Sicily and Malta (p* 97)^ 
and the third civilization of Anau (p, 87), 


To present intelligibly the next two phases of the neolithic cul- 
ture of Europe and the crises which introduce them, it is necessary 
to range further afield 3 into regions hitherto unaflrected, so far 
as is known, by the emergence of broad-headed man either in 
Asia Minor or in Alpine Europe. His relations with the Syrian 
highland, and with Egypt, have been discussed already, and the 
circumstances which hindered his general extension along the 
North African coast. We shall see later by what stages his culture, 
though not necessarily his race, passed south-eastward and eastward 
into the region of the ancient * painted pottery 5 " culture of Susa 
and Anau (pp. 85 jyf.). And we shall see that there is reason to 
believe that the site of Anau reveals that * painted 7 culture in oscil- 
lation between the highland and the northward steppe, and in- 
debted for the technique of its forms, as well as of its ornament, 
partly to wood-using foresters, partly to leather-using pastorals 
from the steppe or its oases. It does not need much imagination to 
suggest that a steppe- or oasis-culture of this kind is unlikely to be 
confined to one section only of the steppe-margin; and that it is 
most likely to be recovered at any section of that margin where the 
steppe is bounded by mountain and forest as abrupt as the Kopet 
Dagh above Anau, and as liable to oscillations of climate, and 
alternate advance or retreat of the forest and its parkland fringe* 
Such conditions actually occur on the eastward face of the Car- 
pathians, and the Roumanian and Russian students of what is for 
those countries a problem of high practical importance to the 
national economy have demonstrated such oscillations throughout 
post-glacial time; though they have not yet established correlation 
in detail with those exhibited at Anau* 

It was therefore no surprise to geographers when the discovery 
was announced of a * painted pottery' culture on a number of iso- 
lated sites distributed oasis-like over the trans-Carpathian steppe, 
between the Dnieper and the Danube,, and supplemented by two 
other groups, one along the north side of the Carpathians, through- 
out Galicia> the other occupying sites in SiebenbUrgen on the 


reverse flank of the Carpathian arc, as Susa and Moussian stand 
on the 'reverse flank or the north Persian highlands, looking 
over Mesopotamia and exploiting its lowlands, just as the 
cis-Carpathian sites spread down from Siebenbtirgen into the 
Hungarian plain. 

Like the culture of Anau, the Tripolje culture (so called from 
the best known of the trans-Carpathian sites) has two main phases. 
In both, the dead were burned, and it has been inferred from this 
that the people were of 4 Alpine' origin; but this does not neces- 
sarily follow, and the racial question may be left open for the 
present. The first phase seems to be purely neolithic; its decorative 
painting, like the first style at Anau, is simply geometrical; and it 
seems to beiimited to the flat land, except one brief incursion into 
the effrlier neolithic culture of Thessaly, with which it is at present 
linked only by a few casual finds in Macedonia and Bulgaria. The 
second, which is separated from the first by a considerable pause, 
during which sites were evacuated and reoccupied, as at Anau, 
shows marked development of its vase-forms, and still more de- 
cided change in its decoration; for in the interval it had acquired 
an empirical, though not very intelligent, acquaintance with the 
curvilinear ornaments of the Danubian ^band-pottery/ at a period 
when the latter was already strongly influenced by the Bosnian 
spiral designs. The painted trans-Carpathian spirals, however, 
never reproduce their prototypes with the close understanding of 
their geometry which characterizes the Bosnian school, but are 
Introduced haphazard in bizarre confusion among the triangles 
and other linear schemes which were already traditional. 

After a fairly long existence, to judge from the depth of de- 
posits on the Galician and Roumanian sites, though there Is 
nowhere the vast depth of debris which Is common to Anau 
and Susa, the Tripolje culture ceases abruptly and uniformly. 
Its sites were deserted and not reoccupied; and the cause of their 
evacuation is indicated by the occurrence, over the whole region 
of their distribution, of burial tumuli in a late phase of the neolithic 
culture ascribed by Russian observers to the * kurgan-folk 1 ' or 
*rgd-ochre-people ? (see below p. 83), who had long been in 
occupation of the central steppe, but seem to have been held aloof 
from the Tripolje folk along the course of the Dnieper. The occa- 
sion, and the cause, of their irruption can only be guessed, for it 

1 Kurgan is a local word for a burial mound. These people will be herein- 
after described as the 'Tumulus-folk.' The red ochre with which they be- 
smeared their dead has been thought to be a survival of palaeolithic, perhaps 
Solutrean, observance (see below, p. 83), 



cannot at present be correlated exactly with other events, though, 
curiously enough, pottery resembling the later Tripolje style ap- 
pears suddenly in Thessaly ? at a longish Interval after the "first 
incursion (p, 81), whether we measure it in phases of the local 
styles, or by the depth of superimposed settlements. It may re- 
present an arrival of dispossessed folk from beyond the Danube. 
It is certain, however, that once let loose on Roumania the 
* tumulus-folk' were checked westward only by the Carpathians, 
and that southward they crossed the Danube, spread their tumuli 
widely over Bulgaria and Thrace, and penetrated into north-western 
Asia Minor, where their tumuli overlook the 1 lellespont and follow 
the Sangarius valley as for as the Phrygian plateau. It has been 
suggested, with some probability, that it was they wJ?o destroyed 
the second city at Hissarlik; at all events one skull from this city, 
wholly different from its contemporaries, closely resembles the * tu- 
mulus-folk* type; and if so, their irruption would be approximately 
dated not later than 2000 E.G., and would range with other great 
movements (pp* 91, 107) which were in progress about that time* 

While the left wing of this irruption from the steppe swung 
southwards in this fashion, the right or northern wing pressed on 
outside the Carpathians, scattering the Tripolje folk of Galicia 
into Silesia, Moravia, and Bohemia, The effects of this movement 
must be followed at a later stage (p, 101). 

Other survivors of the Tripolje culture seem to have taken 
refuge with their cis-Carpathian kinsmen and to have introduced 
disorganized elements of their culture* and especially their painted 
decoration, rather widely within the Dnnubian region., from north- 
ern Serbia to Bohemia* Perhaps this dissemination had already 
begun, from the cis-Carpathian sites, for the relative dates are 
uncertain; but the general similarity of these derivative painted 
techniques rather points to a single impulse, of not very early date. 


While in western and north-western Europe the passing of 
the Old Stone Age can be traced in- fairly full detail,, the record^ is 
as yet less copious in the east, Roumanian and Russian studies of 
post-glacial deposits make it certain that the deposits of loess which 
indicate dry steppe and desert conditions, though generally con- 
tinuous,, were interrupted several times by moister periods which 
allowed soil to form, far out from the Carpathians towards the 
Dnieper. Nearer the Carpathians, and further south towards the 
Balkans, not only are these layers more numerous, but they can be 


correlated with the flood-wash of the lower Danube and other 
Roumanian rivers, and with other soils so richly impregnated with 
vegetable matter that they are regarded as evidence for forest, like 
that of the Carpathian foothills but extended for some distance 
into the plain. The forest regime attained therefore here too, and 
more than once in post-glacial time, a wider extension than now; 
and the changes of climate which this presupposes are indicated 
also by wider distribution of swamps and other shore-deposits of 
an enlarged Black Sea. As similar oscillations are established on 
the low ground between Black Sea and Caspian, at Anau, and 
around the southern foothills of the Ural range, it may be inferred 
that the old Sarmatian sea-basin still exercised its moderating in- 
fluence over^the whole Eurasian lowland, whenever the westerlies 
shiftefl far enough north to supply it with rain. 

But these oscillations only affected the margin; and meanwhile 
it was only gradually that the Asiatic forest, already mentioned in 
other connections (p. 24), was enabled by the shrinkage of the 
Scandinavian and Ural ice-caps to spread round the northern edge 
of what seems to have been continuously steppe or desert, at all 
events in its central area. 

This region has already been suggested (p. 51 sg?) as the 
probable reservoir of the Solutrean hunters who intruded into 
western Europe at the end of the Aurignacian period, and as their 
probable refuge when they withdrew, with the steppe-fauna, when 
the Magdalenian moisture set in. That they did not permanently 
lose access to central Europe is clear from the occurrence of similar 
long-headed individuals in the Ofnet burial-place, mixed with early 
representatives of the new broad-headed folk of the Alpine forest 
region; and that their culture penetrated atone time right across the 
Iranian section of the Highland Zone is suggested by the discovery 
of implements of the peculiar Solutrean technique on sites over- 
looking Mesopotamia, and even in the Nile valley; though the 
occasions of these deposits cannot yet be dated. 

Many of the later palaeolithic folk on west- and mid-European 
sites had the habit of supplying their dead with a quantity of 
pojvdered red ochre ; in what belief as to its efficacy we can only guess 
from occasional instances of the same custom among modern 
savages; there is obvious symbolism in so durable a representation of 
blood. It is therefore of the first importance, that the same practice is 
habitual among the earliest inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe, a 
tall, heavy-built and long-headed race not very different from those 
western types, burying their dead in surface graves, and marking 
these with earth-mounds, the only possible monument in the tree- 



less and stoneless loess-land. These mounds (for which the local 
word is kurgan) do not seem to begin until the fine Solutrean tech- 
nique had been lost, and their earliest contents are more roughly 
worked implements, and hemispherical pots of clay durable sub- 
stitutes for the simple bowls of gourd or leather, available to a 
prairie folk. As horse-bits, and later on, fragments of wooden cars 
on wheels, are found in these mounds, we must infer that the horse 
had been domesticated, and that we have here an early phase of 
the waggon-dwelling culture which still occupied this grassland 
when it was visited by Greek explorers later on. Dates for these 
two inventions, locomotive animals and wheeled transport, cannot 
as yet be fixed; but they presuppose a combination of level un- 
obstructed country, with the presence of the wild hon?e, and access 
to parkland timber supply, which is nowhere so fully realised as 
in this region; and at no period so favourably even there, as in the 
late palaeolithic phase of moist climate, and consequent encroach- 
ment of such parkland far out into the steppe wherever its dusty 
soil was tolerant of trees. At the climax of the moist phase we have 
probably to picture this region wholly grassland at its centre, 
wholly encircled by forest, and with its southern half invaded by 
the swampy shores of a continuous Ponto-Caspian lakeland. 

It is not the purpose of this chapter to deal at length with the 
history of language, for though the periods of this may be as- 
signed an order of sequence, they can seldom be dated, because 
words, unlike implements, do not fall to the ground after use, 
But it may be noted here that the population of a region so long 
secluded, so vast in itself, and so absolutely devoid of internal ob- 
stacles can hardly have failed to acquire a fairly uniform vocabulary 
for such elements of their common experience and culture as the 
open sky, sun, moon and stars; open water, with some sort of 
boat, and swampland with geese and ducks; open grassland, with 
cattle and horses; but also parkland trees, with axes to fell them, 
and gourds for vessels; and the structural details of a waggon- 
home for its journey over paths and fords. Whether such people 
had also knowledge of the simpler agriculture would obviously 
depend on eventual intercourse with kindred men of the parkkyid, 
or with some other culture on the forest margin or beyond it; for 
on the grassland itself, as every nomad knows, even to scratch the 
surface may be to wound irremediably the delicate film of vegeta- 
tion on which depends alL Such vocabulary seems to have been 
among the oldest common possessions of Aryan-speaking folk; 
and there is now general agreement that whatever their subsequent 
adventures, the original speakers of this type of language probably 


Inhabited this region; while some observers go so far as to identify 
tbftm with these c tumulus-folk/ 


We reach next, in our survey of early neolithic cultures, the 
eastern section of the Highland Zone, separating the northern 
steppe from the lowland of Mesopotamia, where the earlier phases of 
civilization have been already noticed (pp. 42 syg."). In this eastern 
section the record is still fragmentary, in spite of the brilliant work 
of the French Mission in Persia. Palaeolithic culture, of the normal 
types, has not been detected. This is what would be expected, if 
the southward shift of climate clothed its abrupt escarpments on 
eithei^hand with forests impenetrable by hunting folk. At most, 
during a climax of drought, there might be occasional incursions, 
such as the rare occurrence of Solutrean types of implements to 
the south-westward has suggested already. The survival of dark- 
skinned folk akin to the older races of India and beyond, in the 
more extensive and better watered ranges of the south-western 
margin, suggests that this region long retained the character rather 
of a westward appendage of that great south-easterly region, than 
of an eastward extension, either of 'Africa- Arabia,' or even of the 
Highland Zone; and the intense glaciation of the Armenian and 
north-west Persian mountain-knot gives a reason for this long 
isolation from the west. Scanty human remains from Susa and 
other sites on its south-western margin, and from the ancient site 
at Anau, on its northern, agree in supporting this notion of its 
early human population, and at Anau in particular there is evi- 
dence that this type persisted, even where it would least have 
been expected, far on into early historic times. Further south, the 
same type seems to be figured in the Sumerian art of Babylonia 
early in the third millennium. 

The remarkable analogies between the earliest culture at Anau 
and on the Susan group of sites, need not therefore surprise us, 
nor the remote antiquity to which this common culture appears 
to^o back with essential continuity of development; for the lacuna 
between the second and third phases at Anau has been shown to 
be due to an encroachment of northern steppe-desert, which 
evacuated the site temporarily without destroying the civilization 
of which Anau was seldom more than an outpost. 

The unusual depth of continuously deposited debris on all 
these sites at Susa 27 ft. for the first culture and nearly 50 for 
the second; at Anau 45 ft. for the first and 40 for the second is 


presumptive evidence for very long duration, unless the contrary 
can be proved. We may compare the 25 ft. of pre-Minoan neo- 
lithic debris at Cnossus, and the occurrence of pottery at 5060 ft. 
below the present flood-plain of the Nile* The second culture is 
succeeded, after an interval of desertion, by a third, 59 ft. thick, 
the later part of which contains objects not much later than 2000 
B.C. Without accepting therefore estimates based on rate of accu- 
mulation on later sites in other regions, it is permissible to regard 
the beginning of the Susa-Anau cycle of civilization as falling 
within the same scale of time as is indicated by the Baltic sedi- 
ments for the close of the European Ice Age* 

Comparison of the most recent reckonings reveals indeed very 
striking similarities. Breasted, relying on the actual r&tc of alluvial 
deposit in Egypt, dates the beginning of the present Nile alltSrvium, 
and the first human occupation of it, 60-80 ft. below the modern 
surface, to about 18,00015,000 B.C.; a second * floor* of occupa- 
tion (at 35 ft.) to about 10,000 B.C,, and the earliest tombs still 
exposed along its edge to about 4000 B.C. Baron de Geer's study 
of the annual increment of laminated clays in the Baltic area sug- 
gests 20,000 B.C. for the retreat of the Scandinavian ice from the 
north German plain; 15,000 B.C. for the release of the south end 
of Sweden (which very soon received Solutrean immigrants from 
the south) and 8000 B.C. for its northern districts. Pumpclly and 
Huntington begin the first settlement at Anau, in south Turkestan 
about 9000 B.C.; the second,, which succeeded it, about 6000 B.C.; 
and the third, after an interval of desert-drought, about 5200 B.C.; 
ending with another drought about 2200 B.C. De Morgan and 
Montelius allow 20,000 years for the whole series at Susa; Evans 
and Montelius 14,000 for that at Cnossus, The drought which 
evacuated Anau between 6000 and 5000 B*c* would thus corre- 
spond with the period of elevation and more continental climate 
in the Ancylus period of the Baltic area, by which time the 
Eurasiatic tundra and forest belt had completed their fusion 
with the west European, and were allowing Mongoloid folk to 
penetrate into the Baltic area. See also p. 579* 

The material cultures of Susa and of Anau present close sia^i- 
laxities. That of Susa is described below (pp. 361 $$$'). At Anau the 
first culture in the lower part of the * North Kurgan" site begins 
likewise with hand-made pottery, of simple but shapely forms 
based partly on leather work, partly^ as usual, on a still older pot- 
fabric; the decoration, carefully applied in dark paint, is borrowed 
from other techniques, and is already so conventional that its 
ancestry remains doubtful. The material culture of these folk, that 


is, must be considerably older than anything deposited on this 
site. The principal implements are small flint flakes, probably for 
insertion in a wooden haft, like those which appear in western 
Europe late in the palaeolithic decline, and at the beginning of the 
Alpine lake culture; and perforated mace-heads fashioned from 
pebbles of hard rock, such as occur in the earliest Nile-valley 
settlements, and also in lake-dwellings in the Alps. The huts were 
of mud-brick; their rectangular plan suggests the use of timber 
for roofing. Spin die- whorls attest the arts of spinning and weaving. 
Wheat and barley were cultivated from the first; but the earliest 
bones of ox, horse*, sheep and pig are those of wild species, like 
the gazelle and red deer with which they are associated. There are 
foxes and wolves, but no dogs. Gradually, however, ox, pig, horse, 
and ^wo kinds of sheep were domesticated into special breeds. The 
occurrence of small objects of turquoise, and of copper and lead, 
in the later phases of this first culture, shows that in some region 
with which Anau had intercourse these mineral resources were 
already exploited; but proves little or nothing as yet as to the rela- 
tive date of objects at Anau itself. The human remains, which 
occur at all depths, are long-headed: without accepting as more 
than provisional the first descriptions of them as *negrito' or 
'Dravidian' they may be taken as proof of the extension of a south 
Asiatic type over the west Iranian plateau and its mountain rim. 
A notable observance of these people was the burial of young 
children beneath the house floors. 

The later part of this first culture lies in a phase of gradually 
increasing drought; and the second culture, which succeeds it or 
(more accurately) invades it rather suddenly, brings little change 
in essentials. Sling-stones became common, stone pivots for the 
doors, and baking-ovens made from a large pot, Lapis lazuli and 
cornelian supplement turquoise, and daggers of copper are found. 
Agriculture proceeds as before, but the camel, goat, a new horn- 
less sheep, and the dog are added to the domestic animals. This, 
and the new fabrics of pottery, of smooth red or grey ware, un- 
decorated except for dark smoke-mottling on the red ware, sug- 
gest wider intercourse with another, and in the main more south- 
westerly region. This is just what would be expected if drought 
had disorganized the forests of the highland at its narrowest point, 
namely between the Caspian and Mesopotamia; for we may re- 
member that one of the earliest fabrics of pottery in Syria and 
Asia Minor, is a red-ware with various blackened by-products 
(p. 79; cf. p. 89 below), and that a similar fabric appears in 
predynastic Egypt (p. 34). 


At the end of the second period, Anau had become so dry that 
the site was abandoned. When it was reoccupied the settlement 
was not on the old pile of debris, but on a lower mound a litfeie to 
the south. The people of this * South Kurgan' and their habits 
were the same as of old, including the practice of child-burial; but 
their pottery was now wheel-made and kiln-baked, and its decora- 
tion, painted as at the first, was more elaborate; the painted and 
the red-ware styles, moreover, have been combined in subsidiary 
fabrics; the red-ware and grey-ware have incised ornaments like 
the earliest pottery of early Asia Minor and Cyprus., and some of 
the forms recall those of early North Syrian fabrics. Elaborately 
incised clay figures of women, cattle, and wheeled carts indicate 
fresh contact with the grassland to the north, and with the North 
Syrian culture far to the west. The shapes and ornaments qf the 
spindlewhorls have a general resemblance to those of Cyprus and 
Hissarlik. Copper is supplemented by occasional bronze, and the 
daggers of the second culture by sickles, lances and arrowheads, 
There are also arrowheads of flint and obsidian, and ornaments of 
marble, alabaster, and blue-glazed paste like that of Egypt* A 
single gable-shaped seal-stone with its surfaces engraved respec- 
tively with a man and two winged griffins is another link with the 
Syrian culture, and has even been claimed as of Cretan type* This 
third culture also was expelled from Anau by a dry spell, more 
severe than the former one,, and the pause was long enough for 
the deserted mound to be devastated by rain-wash, till the climate 
improved once more and a fourth culture brought iron objects to 
Anau, probably not much earlier than Persian times. 

So detailed a survey of the scries at Anau may be justified by 
several considerations. First, to emphasize its close similarity with 
the Susan culture,, in quality, in duration, and. in the sterile interval 
between an earlier and a later period, on adjacent sites at Anau, 
but at Susa actually superposed* 

Secondly, because in the second culture at Susa, which corre- 
sponds with the earliest sites on the Sumerian ulluvium, a fresh set 
of influences, exemplified in the undccorated red-ware and grey- 
ware, appears in competition with the old painted-ware, in much 
the same way as in the second and third cultures at Anau, Bofn 
series point towards a distinct centre of culture further west, and 
the only culture which has such a red-ware tradition is that of 
early Syria, which has ancient relations with Egypt on the one 
hand, and with the highland-girt plateau of Asia Minor on the 
other; the latter a smaller replica, in respect of physical geography, 
of that of Iran. 


Thirdly, because the more copious use of copper, even in the 
lowest layers at Susa, and still more in the tombs belonging to it, 
suggests that in this region, as at Anau, this copper is not originally 
local, but comes from another source, to which Susa had the easier 
access. This again points westward, to the Syrian culture or be- 
yond it. 

Fourthly, the occurrence of painted ware, resembling more or 
less closely the later stages of that of Anau and Susa, throughout 
North Syria, in south Palestine, in Cyprus (where it can be seen 
intruding into a purely red-ware culture), and locally also in Asia 
Minor, suggests a phase of reaction, later (as the sequence in Cyprus 
shows) than the widest expansion of the red-ware culture, in which 
the painted-ware tradition profoundly affected the Syrian region. 
Thiarphase cannot be precisely dated yet, but the presence in Egypt, 
under the early dynasties, of painted fabrics alien to the Nilotic 
styles, probably gives a downward limit for its arrival in Syria, 
and consequently for the previous spread of the red-ware culture 
eastward* The latter, on this reckoning, should be not far from 
contemporary with the beginning of the dynastic regime in Egypt, 
and the first culture of Anau would be altogether predynastic. 

The red-ware culture has already been noted in two connex- 
ions: (i) as the source of the new elements which are intruded 
into the second culture at Anau, and confront the Susan culture 
at the phase when it began to spread onto the Sumerian alluvium; 
and (2) on an earlier page (p 79) as the probable source of the 
red-ware technique which has been traced spreading widely over 
the Danubian region. We have now to define its range and ex- 
amine its origin. 

The region over which it seems to be at home extends from 
Palestine on the south, to the Hellespont westward, and to the 
Upper Euphrates, or possibly rather further east; covering that is, 
the whole of the Anatolian or peninsular section of the Highland 
Zone, together with its Syrian appendage between the north end 
of Arabia and the eastern gulf of the Mediterranean. The earliest 
pottery of this region is illustrated best in the first city at His- 
sarlik, which has only very slight acquaintance with copper; in 
tombs at Yortan Keui and a number of casual finds all over Asia 
Minor, and in the lowest layer at the stratified site at Sakje- 
geuzi in North Syria. Its forms are partly close imitations of 
gourds, partly of skin vessels; the clay is densely blackened, and 
hand-burnished; the ornaments are simple bands, triangles and 


lozenges, with sparing use of punctured dots within the outlines, 

all incised 3 and emphasized with white paste. Locally this fine 
* black-ware' degenerates into ashy grey ? and loses its burnished 
surface. This early culture seems to be purely neolithic, with 
plump pebble-like celts rubbed to a blunt edge, and very little use 

of flaked flint. With the spread of copper implements a marked 
change takes place in the technique. Black polish gives place to a 
clear^brick-red, degenerating to chestnut-brown, as the black de- 
generated to grey. The forms become more gourd -like; open 
bowls 3 long-necked jugs with one handle or none, wide-mouthed 
jars with cylindrical neck and two handles or more. Incised decora- 
tion becomes rarer, and is supplemented with ornaments modelled 
in relief. At Hissarlik, in the second city, many jars fcave human 
faces on the neck, or on a deep cover which fits over it, * 

It is in this period that the first exploitation of Cyprus takes 
place, and it is here, in a culture transplanted fully formed into a 
fresh locality, that its other characteristics have been most closely 
observed. Cereal agriculture was practised, as well as the growing 
of domesticated gourds; oxen and sheep were kept; the copper, 
which is abundant here, was worked extensively, and exported. 
The earliest forms of implement are the flat celt, the leaf-shaped 
dagger, and a longer dagger with a hooked tang to secure it in a 
wooden haft, The latter is peculiar to this culture; the former two 
are common to it and to predynastic Egypt., where the majority 
of the forms are quite different. The technique also of the 
red-ware is identical with the predynastic Egyptian, though its 
forms are wholly different; even the few gourd-forms among the 
Nile pottery being quite otherwise treated. 

The question now arises,, did Egypt or the Syrian culture ori- 
ginate copper-working, and transmit it to the other? In Egypt 
copper appears as a luxurious adjunct to a highly developed in- 
dustry or flaked flint, with very little grinding of implements, 
though hard stones were skilfully worked into vases; and it Is only 
very gradually that flint work declines and copper becomes com- 
moner; the transition is incomplete at the opening of the dynastic 
series about 4000 B,C* In the Asiatic red-ware region a small selejp- 
tion from the Egyptian copper-types appears suddenly amid the 
polished-stone culture, together with the red-ware pottery: Syria 
adds one new type of its own, and then remains long stagnant. 
There is copper ore in Syria itself, and in many parts of Asia 
Minor ? but it would seem that it was the richer copper of 
Cyprus, exploited by men of the red- ware culture, which excelled 
competitors, and stereotyped these few forms over so large a 


region. At first sight the Egyptian copper industry would seem to 
have priority. But the same question of priority arises as to the 
.origin of cultivated grains, wheat, barley and millet. Their wild 
forms are found along the Highland Zone, from Syria eastward; 
the same cultivated varieties are already in use from the first at 
Anau, and in predynastic Egypt. But Anau had had a very long 
career before the first irruption of the red-ware culture, and had 
copper from the first. Its domesticated animals, which it acquired 
some while before the red-ware came, are on the one hand derived 
from local species, on the other identical with the breeds of 
predynastic Egypt. Had Anau, or Egypt, priority? Or were 
both indebted to that intermediate region where the red-ware cul- 
ture arose In the present state of our knowledge of this * Middle 
Kitsgdom ' of the Near East, the answer remains in suspense, 

In another line of advancement the originality of the Syrian 
culture is less disputable. It is with the reoccupation of Anau by 
its third culture that the first clay figures of nude women appear. 
At Hissarlik they begin in the first city, and are copious in de- 
generate clay and stone types, from the second onwards. In south- 
western Asia Minor, similarly, they are found in the black-ware 
technique, and beyond the margin of this region they are part of 
the repertoire of neolithic Crete, and of the early bronze age of 
the Cyclades; in the latter case contemporary with a local school 
of red-ware. In Cyprus they are frequent in the local red-ware and 
even in a fairly early phase of it. In other parts of Asia Minor, and 
throughout Syria, they occur in various early techniques, in more 
and more traditional and grossly accentuated forms. Though a 
few female figures in local red-ware have been found in predynastic 
Egypt, they are unconventionalized and even this type had no 
regular vogue. In Palestine, where it became popular in the Bronze 
Age, there are only late and secondary types. In Babylonia it was 
unknown till the time of Hammurabi, and then became popular; and 
Hammurabi's people are thought by some authorities to have come 
down the Euphrates out of Syria, about 2300 B.C. (see p. 467). In 
Syria itself alone, on cylinders of rather earlier date, the conventional 
type can be traced in course of development. Everything therefore 
points to the creation of this artistic type, and of the religious con- 
ceptions which it symbolizes, within the region dedicated in his- 
toric times to the 'Great Mother of Asia/ With the exception of 
the figures of palaeolithic women, no relationship with which 
can be established at present for this Asiatic type, it is the earliest 
* ideal type' in history; and the earliest cult of which we know thp 
meaning as well as the symbol. 



We come now to the last great region, and tradition of culture, 
which remains to complete the survey of our neolithic cosmos 
the Mediterranean itself and the districts interconnected by it. 
Like the painted-ware culture of western Iran, and the red-ware 
culture of Syria and Asia Minor, the neolithic Mediterranean 
culture passes over so gradually into that of the full Bronze Age, 
that its development and relationships to neighbouring civiliza- 
tions can only be traced within a broad period of time, as well as 
over a wide extent of country. Local advancement was uncon- 
formable within its limits, and precocious varieties overlapped the 
more belated. And from two of its most prolific areas, currents of 
influence were projected beyond and athwart the regions and cul- 
tures which have been outlined already, to an extent which has 
profoundly influenced all subsequent history, 

Contemporary with the earliest known phase of prcdynastic 
civilization on the margins of the Nile alluvium, occur rare ex- 
amples of an alien fabric of pottery, which has provisionally been 
described as Libyan, that is to say, they are thought to be intrusive 
from the west. The clay is dark-brown or blackish, hand-made and 
burnished; the forms are open bowls and cups, sometimes on three 
or four short feet. The ornament is incised in simple geometrical 
forms, suggestive of basketry, sometimes rather elaborate, and 
always emphasized by careful filling with lines or dots. White 
paste is used, as in the old black-ware of Asia Minor, which shares 
the liking for tripod supports,, but has little love for basketry. 

Very scattered finds further west in northern Africa link these 
stray vessels with an amazing wealth of distinct but similar fabrics 
on neolithic sites in Malta, representing a long series of develop- 
ment, which culminates later in the great stone-built monuments 
at Hajiar-Kim, Mnaidra, Hal-Tarshien, and at Gtgantea in Gozo; 
Sardinia has another local school, and characteristic tripod vases ? 
at Anjelu-Ruju; Sicily has similar but less fantastic fabrics, self- 
coloured and richly incised, at Stentinello and Villafrati; south- 
Italy has others, at Matera and Pulo di Molfetta, very early modi- 
fied, however,, by contact with other cultures to which reference 
Is made later (pp* 104 sgy^). Further north,, the Rhone valley has 
settlements of similar culture, as far inland as the great Camp de 
Chassy, near Macon. By far the most important regions, however* 
in which this widespread Mediterranean culture occurs ? are Crete 
and Spain, 


In Crete, below the first Bronze Age layers at Cnossus (see 
Chap. r xvn), which are as old or older than the first Egyptian dyn- 
astfes and therefore not later than 35003000 B.C.., lie neolithic 
deposits about 25 ft, in thickness. From trial pits in these de- 
posits comes self-coloured pottery incised with simple linear and 
dotted ornament, showing general resemblance both to the other 
* Mediterranean ' fabrics above mentioned, especially in respect of 
the vase forms, and also rarer points of correspondence with the 
neolithic c black-ware' of Asia Minor. Almost identical pottery 
occurs locally in cave-deposits on the Syrian coast, but nothing 
similar is known in Cyprus. Further north in the Aegean, Melos, 
Amorgos, and some other islands show late and specialized phases 
of a similar culture, already affected both by the black-ware tech- 
nique, and by the red-ware of Asia Minor which superseded it. 
These Cycladic schools belong to the first period of the Aegean 
Bronze Age; they had intercourse with the earliest Bronze Age 
culture of Minoan Crete, and so indirectly with Egypt, and may 
be regarded as contemporary with Dynasties IV VI, or not later 
than 2500 B.C. Aegean neolithic culture thus lies in a sort of sea- 
girt enclave between the black-ware culture of neolithic Asia 
Minor, the southernmost margin of the great Danubian region in 
Thrace, Macedon and northern Greece, and those scattered off- 
shoots of the trans-Carpathian painted-ware culture which pene- 
trated the Balkan highland and established themselves in the 
Thessalian plain. Its affinities are almost wholly with the other 
Mediterranean coastlands, but in default of information from the 
long stretch of north African coast opposite which has under- 
gone progressive submergence since the beginning of the Nile- 
alluviation it is difficult to define its exact relations with its west 
Mediterranean counterpart. As the Cretan neolithic was super- 
seded about the beginning of dynastic Egypt by the bronze-age 
'Minoan' culture, with fresh vase-forms, painted decoration, azid 
engraved seal-stones, its principal interest is a proof of the very 
long period occupied by the * Mediterranean ' neolithic period 
before the dawn of the Minoan. This is in full accord with the 
Recurrence of those * Mediterranean * types of incised pottery in 
early predynastic tombs, with which this section of our enquiry 

For more detailed discussion of the Minoan series itself in 
Crete and the Cyclades, see pp. 139 sqq^ 1 74 sqq^ and Chap* xvn. 
Its share in the propagation of a bronze-using culture outside 
its Aegean cradle-land is outlined briefly below, pp. 103 $qq 



The great Spanish peninsula stands in a totally different rela- 
tion to the neolithic culture of the west Mediterranean basin, 
from that of Crete in the eastern. It is in itself a little continent, 
of about the same size as Asia Minor, more diverse in its configu- 
ration, and of at least equal variety and abundance of resources. 
Its two great central plateaux drain westwards to the Atlantic; as 
Phrygia and Cappadocia drain away northwards into the Euxine. 
The northern is more completely isolated, and has but a narrow 
foreshore astride the Douro mouth. The southern, by the two- 
fold access of the Tagus and Guadiana, communicates with the 
maritime lowlands of southern Portugal, and is reached with Kttle 
difficulty also by the headwaters of the Guadalquivir, from Anda- 
lusia,) the Lydia of Spain, Back to back with these central plateaux 
and facing onto the Mediterranean like JLyeia and Pisidiu in Asia 
Minor, are the narrow but very habitable coastlands of Almeriaj 
Alicante, and Valencia, with the Balearic chain, like Rhodes and 
Cyprus, inviting exploration seawards. Then comes Catalonia, a 
counterpart of Cilicia, with the long Kbro trough cut back far into 
the continent and opening a back door to the two plateaux of the 
interior. Finally, round the abrupt end of the Pyrenees and beyond 
lie more such lowlands, with access by the gap of Carcassonne to 
the vast coast plain of western France, and by the Rhone to 
central Europe* It would perhaps not strain analogy unduly to 
compare with these the Syrian coast, in some at least of its early 
relations with Mesopotamia. 

Throughout palaeolithic time this vast region had been the 
vehicle and the recipient of alternate phases of culture; Chellean, 
Acheulian, Mousterian, and at least one raid of Solutrean, from 
the north; Aurignacian and afterwards Capsian from north Africa, 
a twin continent which has no counterpart in the surroundings of 
Asia Minor., though its Saharan background has played repeatedly 
the same part in western history as Arabia has in the Near East, 
The long Magdalenian decadence affected the lands south of thp 
Pyrenees but little, and only late. Cave draughtsmanship at Al- 
tamira and other sites in the north-west achieves finer and maturer 
triumphs, and hands on eventually its own traditions to eastern 
and south-eastern districts-, where the rock-shelters show stag, 
oxen, and perhaps bison, hunted by men armed with bow and 
arrow, who sometimes fight among themselves, as at Morella, 
and whose women are shown at Cogul wearing long skirts, and 


engaged In ritual dance. Even here, however, the period of cold 
moistuf e with consequent wide extension of forest restricted the 
descendants of the old hunters to these and a few other sheltered 
districts. Kitchen-middens accumulated along the Portuguese 
coast, and in the interior the subsequent deposits are mostly in 
caves. Rare early examples of broad-headed men show that the 
new people from the Alpine forest region began to spread beyond 
the Pyrenees, and a considerable population of this type estab- 
lished itself in the district around Mugem in southern Portugal. 
This crisis past, the whole peninsula was the prize of the next 
comer; and we have probably to make large allowance for our 
defective knowledge of Morocco and all northern Africa, in esti- 
mating Ibeyian originality. The small south-eastern coastlands, 
and ^especially that of Almeria, acquired early elements of the 
Mediterranean neolithic culture, and developed it rapidly; with 
regular settlements round caves and on hill tops, subsisting on the 
chase, with bow and arrow, and on simple terrace agriculture, like 
all branches of this Mediterranean culture. But the steep high- 
lands, still heavily forested, prevented expansion into the interior. 
From similar origins on the coast between Cadiz and Huelva, the 
Andalusian lowland was exploited with more success. 

But the main centre of advancement was the larger lowland of 
south Portugal. Here the kitchen-midden folk, reinforced as we 
have seen by 'lost tribes' of Alpine ancestry, and probably now 
by settlers from the Andalusian coast plain of the Guadiana, multi- 
plied rapidly, and created a culture of their own. Its industries are 
those of the other coast-districts, grafted on to those of the kitchen- 
middens, but matured early, rapidly, and distinctively, in this large 
and exceptionally favourable region. Most important of all, it is 
here that we first meet the custom of burying the dead, or at all 
events those of the more important families, in artificial chambers 
formed of upright blocks of untrimmed stone, and roofed with 
others, all as large as there was man-power to handle. Originally 
they were probably covered with a mound of earth, at least to the 
level of the cap-stone. From rude beginnings these 'megalithic* 
bjarial-chambers developed through a well-defined series of forms; 
the mere chamber, round or polygonal, according to the size of 
the wall-blocks; the chamber with corridor entrance, necessarily 
of some length as the diameter and height of the mound increased; 
the corridor with a terminal alcove replacing the chamber; the 
mere corridor with lateral alcoves or apses; and only after this, by 
gradual reduction of scale, the mere trench or cist below the 
natural surface, still lined and roofed with slabs in the ancient way. 


There seems no need to infer alien influence at any stage; even the 
corbelled cupolas which replace the megalithic cap-stone "are but 
another case of ^necessity mother of invention/ Such works pre- 
sume co-operation, and no ordinary degree of social coherence; 
and people so constituted and so situated had a whole world at 
their feet. As the climate became drier, and the forest more pene- 
trable, they pressed up the great valleys, onto the southern plateau 
and eventually beyond it into the Ebro basin, where they found 
and mastered the backwood settlements from the Catalan sea- 
board* They reached the Mediterranean coast around Valencia; 
they occupied Andalusia, and were only prevented by the rugged 
highlands of Granada and Murcia from transforming likewise the 
secluded Almeria culture. The latter was to have its turn later on. 
The great abundance, variety and excellence of their arrowheads 
betray their chief means of aggression; the growing perfection of 
their pottery,, grey or black-polished, incised with white-filled 
linear ornaments, of skill and beauty, attests their sense of style; 
everywhere their great burial chambers demonstrate their effici- 
ency and energy, 

Nor were they checked by the sea. The * talayots* of the Balearic 
Islands are a local adaptation of 'megalithic' architecture to a dis- 
trict where soil was too precious for mound-building, and must 
be replaced by rubble from the fields. The * giants* graves* of Sar- 
dinia show development from simpler types to the phase when the 
corridor had outlived its terminal chamber, but not yet developed 
alcoves in its sides; the great monuments of Malta and Gozo show 
the supreme achievement of successive paired apses, dwarfing the 
corridor, roofed with cupolas of ashlar masonry, and supplied with 
side-doorways cut through a single slab* A distant but apparently 
early outpost is the group of burial chambers in the heel of Italy; 
Corsica has another such. To what extent the north African coast 
was occupied, the small, late, and little-studied 'megaliths' of 
Roknia and Enfida do not clearly inform us; the impressive 4 se- 
nams* of Algeria and Tripoli are now known not to belong to this 
culture at all, but to oil-presses of Roman date; and the * mega- 
lithic' structures of Nubia and Moab have been too little explored 
to permit more than conjecture as to any affinity with the west 
Mediterranean culture: they seem to be rather cists than dolmens, 
and if so, are comparatively late. The same applies to a reported 
group of large-stone monuments in eastern Thrace, to those of 
the Crimea, and to another limited and coherent * megalithic* area 
on the Pontic coast of Georgia, connected, apparently, by some 
isolated examples south of the Caspian, with a vast region to the 


south-east, including most of India and extending into the Pacific, 
where chambers of similar construction are found sporadically. 

Though the area exploited by the * megalith' builders included 
the whole of the western Mediterranean, and perhaps extended 
beyond it eastward, and though the total period of this exploita- 
tion is shown by the successive types of the monuments to have 
been a long one, its influence was not permanent. In Malta, after 
a brilliant climax, in which many concurrent styles of decoration 
were attempted, including an experiment in spiral ornament 
which seems rather to descend from still earlier western attempts 
in Azilian times, than to be the result of intercourse either with 
Bosnia or with the Aegean, the neolithic culture seems to have been 
cut off suddenly and in its prime. In Sicily, which was apparently 
little effected by it, perhaps because its climate and soil made its 
forests too difficult, except close around Palermo and in the south- 
eastern corner, the primitive neolithic culture of Stentinello gave 
place to a strange and alien 'First Sicel' style, as at Castelluccio, 
which arrived fully developed, with geometrically painted pottery 
which has its only near counterpart in immemorial leatherwork 
design among the peoples of western and central Sahara, and in 
the primitive-looking pottery of the Aures and the Kabyle country 
of Algeria. An African origin for it, as for the Stentinello culture, 
is supported by the distribution of the characteristic rock-hewn 
chamber-tombs in which it is found. These recur in Malta, where 
painted pottery of rather different style is found with that of the 
'megalith' culture; and also in Tunisia. But it must be remem- 
bered, on the other hand, that painted ware resembling that of 
Thessaly occurs at Matera in the heel of Italy within the mar- 
gin, that is, of the 'megalith* culture, though not actually on a 
*megalithic* site and that there was certainly intercourse between 
the painted-ware culture of Sicily and the second city of Hissarlik 
far away in north-western Asia Minor, a peculiar type of carved 
plaque in bone and ivory being common to both, and occurring 
also in neolithic Malta. 

It might have been expected, and was indeed formerly sup- 
pc^sed, that the neolithic culture of Malta and Sicily owed some of 
its characters to Aegean initiative. But this has not yet been proved, 
and at present such correlation as is possible tends to show that 
the west Mediterranean culture long developed independently, 
and was for the most part earlier than the great Minoan Age, The 
earliest links are supplied on the one hand by the bone plaques 
already mentioned, which are dated at Hissarlik not later than 
2000 B.C.; on the other, by the painted pottery of Matera, which 

C.A.H.I 7 


if it be of Balkan origin, belongs to an even earlier phase. As both 
these links are subsequent to the spread into Sicily and* Italy of 
the 'bell beaker' culture, to which reference must next be made, 
they serve to emphasize the relative earliness of the western cul- 
ture, and its independence of anything Aegean. And it has been 
noted already that even the neolithic settlement at Cnossus, seems 
rather to be an early northward offshoot of an essentially Medi- 
terranean culture with its cradle in maritime Africa, than itself 
originally Aegean* 

While the 'megalith '-building culture was permeating the 
west Mediterranean in this way, it was achieving even wider and 
more arduous expansion northward along the Atlantic seaboard. 
That this expansion took place mainly coastwise, and not over- 
land, is suggested by the distribution of the monuments in west- 
ern Europe, and especially of the different types* Principal early 
centres are, first, the promontory of Brittany, whence *megalithic' 
enterprise diverges, northward to Britain and Ireland, and north- 
eastward past the Low Countries to Denmark and southern Swe- 
den; secondly, this Scandinavian area, whence the whole of the 
western half of the North German plain was occupied, as far as 
the foothills of the central highlands. Meanwhile, the whole of 
lowland France was exploited, mainly up the Atlantic rivers, but 
also directly by land past the Pyrenees, and probably also from 
Catalonia along the Mediterranean shore, into Provence and up 
the Rhone, along an earlier line of exploration already noted (p, 
92). That the whole of this vast area remained in fairly full inter- 
course with the motherland of the megalith-culture is clear from 
the occurrence of the same varieties of tomb-plan in nearly every 
region, usually in the same order of development, as is shown by 
the sequence of associated implements. The pottery varies locally, 
within a general uniformity of technique. But the individuals buried 
in these tombs vary in type, so that it is not possible to speak of 
a Megalith-people/ but only of a megalithic culture and a social 
structure imposed by its originators on the natives among whom 
they came. In the British Isles, these are more or less pure descen- 
dants of Aurignacian and other old long-headed stocks. In Scsyi- 
dinavia and the whole north-western area of the Continent, they 
are the tall massive long-headed folk who had apparently been 
developing there since the dispersal of the Cro-Magnon and Solu- 
trean hunters; they seem to be an early offshoot of the c Tumulus- 
people ' of southern Russia, and are the ancestors of the present 
'Nordic' blondes. On the Atlantic seaboard, and all across France, 
there is the mixed population of Magdalenian survivors and Alpine 


intruders, by this time much interbred except in the central high- 
land of Auvergne, where the forest remained intact longest, and 
the Sevenole type of broad-heads purest, and also least affected 
by 'megalithic' innovations. 

To follow the tf megalithic* culture in detail as it made its way up 
the valleys leading into the Central German highland is impossible 
here. It is essential only to note that the strong forest barrier of 
the Vosges and Ardennes, and around the headwaters of the Marne, 
Seine and Loire, checked progress from the west, while the Rhine 
and Weser invited intrusion from the north. Consequently the 
Rhine, and its eastern tributaries Main and Neckar, early received 
elements of 'megalithic' culture from the seaboard, and greatly 
modified the^)ld Danubian culture which had exploited these areas 
beforehand. A temporary advance of Alpine lake-dwellers down- 
Rhine was met and repelled, so that northern elements penetrate 
even into the lakeland, and with them some Nordic men. Further 
east, the forest-frontier of the Danube basin seems to have held 
firm for a while, though northern traits were already becoming 
common locally, in pottery and implements, before the next crisis 
came. Further east still, local cultures more or less clearly based 
on the * north-western * megalithlc tradition, established them- 
selves along the upper courses of all the North German rivers as 
far as the Vistula, but failed like the Rhenish and Thuringian 
intruders to penetrate into Bohemia or Silesia, which remained 
essentially Danubian. Bohemia however was being affected about 
this period by an Alpine outflow similar to those down the Rhine 
and into northern Italy (p. 74), all probably due to some passing 
austerity of Alpine climate uncorrelated yet with events elsewhere. 
And before the crisis with which we have next to deal, Bohemia 
was also being influenced by the * painted-ware * culture from be- 
yond the Carpathians; so that our survey of events in neolithic 
Europe has now returned upon its starting point. 

Not merely was Europe itself by this time plotted out among 
well-defined regional cultures occupying its principal lowland 
and loessland areas, but the barriers of highland and forest which 
ha4 separated those areas hitherto were beginning to break down 
before human aggression from outside* We distinguish, that is, 
not merely eventual Hispanic and Gallic provinces on the Atlantic 
seaboard, an eventual Rhine-land and Danube-land, and Bohemian 
and North German regions, distinct from these and from each 
other; but also historic avenues like those of Carcassonne, 
Moravia, and the Lower Rhine. 

7 * 



Meanwhile, a second impulse originating within the Spanish 
peninsula was to produce even more far-reaching effects than those 
due to the 'megalith '-builders. A good deal of the decoration, and 
some of the forms, of all early pottery in the neolithic Mediterra- 
nean, from Portugal to Crete and the * Libyan' vessels in Egypt, 
shows the widespread use of various kinds of basketry. This is 
natural enough when we consider that this culture is bounded 
southward by the grassland margin of Sahara, and that the most 
characteristic plant of all this grassland and of the plateaux of 
Spain itself is the half a or esparto rush, one of the finest materials 
for basketry in the world. But at a late period in the * megalith* 
culture something more specific occurs: the * bell-beaker' type of 
pottery, more closely imitated, both in form and incised decoration, 
from flexible rushwork vessels than any earlier or later type, is so 
suddenly intruded among existing Spanish forms, and followed 
by so remarkable a fresh outburst of exploitation, that there is 
much inducement to ascribe it to the intrusion of some fresh 
stimulus, perhaps from the African side, like the mediaeval coming 
of the Moors. Whatever the cause, the effects are certain. Over- 
running all parts of the peninsula, and reaching Mediterranean 
localities so remote as Sardinia, western Sicily, and Remedello 
near Brescia, in the far north-east of Italy, the 'bell-beaker* cul- 
ture crossed the Pyrenees, and penetrated almost all districts of 
France. Following the old coastal route to Brittany, it passed over 
to Britain and Ireland, and affected also profoundly the large 
region beyond the Netherlands which the * megalith '-builders 
had already made their own. 

That it was not a mere distribution of trade-objects is clear from 
the fact that the bell-beakers themselves are of local materials and 
various techniques; that it was not only the half a baskets them- 
selves that were traded a,nd imitated locally though this, too, is 
probable is shown by the simultaneous appearance of other kinds 
of objects, and by the shift not merely of whole provinces of cul- 
ture but of the frontiers of physical types, in the same direction 
as the spread of the * bell-beakers/ which, wherever they appear, 
are a storm-signal of profound disturbances, from Denmark to 
Buda Pesth. It has even been doubted whether those at Remedello 
are transmarine or transalpine intruders. 

Neglecting, as before, the bewildering details where they are 
known, and supplementing provisionally the no less baffling 
scarcity of data at some important points, we may yet present a 


general outline of the course of the 'bell-beaker' movement, and 
its principal effects. 

Ii? general, the 'bell-beaker' movement followed the main lines 
of the 'megalithic' culture, overtaking it however on its frontiers 
and passing beyond them. In one respect, however, it created a 
new situation altogether; for whereas in eastern France the 'me- 
galithic' advance had been held up by the forested highlands west 
of the Rhine, the * bell-beaker * folk, better organized and better 
armed, especially with highly-developed archery, forced this bar- 
rier (perhaps already weakened by previous clearings towards its 
main gaps north and south of the Vosges) and broke through into 
the Danube valley. We may speak confidently here of invasion, 
because the change of culture is not only sudden, but is accom- 
panied by replacement of the old Rhenish and Danubian popula- 
tion by the moderately broad-headed stock which had long been 
characteristic of the region of Atlantic drainage. The open villages 
and peaceable habits of the Danubian valley-folk made them an 
easy prey : remnants of them survived here and there in the foot- 
hills of the central highland, but this barrier also was obsolete, and 
the northern and western groups of * bell-beaker ' folk coalesced 
as they advanced, and occupied even the secluded Bohemian area. 
Further east still, parts of Silesia remained in occupation of a 
Danubian remnant; but a * bell-beaker* has been found as far 
down-stream as Buda Pesth. The main flood of invaders, however, 
was stayed in the more hilly country between Bohemia and the 
Austrian Alps, where the valley narrows, and the old Alpine cul- 
ture with its secure lake-settlements offered better resistance, and 
diverted the invaders northward into Bohemia and Moravia* 

This long-secluded region now became the centre of a fresh 
movement, the origin of which is obscure, though its results were 
revolutionary. Its population was by this time chaotically mixed, 
partly old Danubian, partly Alpine, partly new western invaders, 
and perhaps partly of more easterly and south-easterly origin; for 
the tumulus-building steppe-folk who, as we have seen, displaced 
the Tripolje culture from Galicia (p. 8 i sq.), seems to have pressed 
forward thus far about this time, while their southern kinsfolk 
made chaos in the Balkan lands. And out of this crucible of diverse 
stocks a new and remarkable type of man emerged, broad-headed 
like the Alpines, heavy browed like the steppe people, with mas- 
sive square face and jaw like the men of the old north-west, and 
with something of the high-vaulted brain-case of the Dinaric and 
Balkan roundheads. Their industries were in the main those of the 
'bell-beaker' culture, and their east Alpine connexions kept them. 


in remote touch with the nascent copper culture of Italy; ^but they 
buried their dead in cist-graves resembling the latest *megalithic* 
tombs, covered however by conspicuous earthen tumuli, nof oval 
like the * long barrows' of neolithic Britain, but circular like those of 
the steppe people. It is one of the few instances where a new kind 
of man has come into existence under conditions where the ante- 
cedents are in any degree knowable, and whose racial history ex- 
presses so clearly the qualities of the brain within the new type of 
skull. It was apparently not long before the 'round-barrow folk/ 
as we may conveniently call them, outgrew their Bohemian cradle, 
and dominated the Danube valley, and much of the eastern Alps, 
coalescing with the already mixed folk (Alpines, western in- 
vaders, and Danubian remnants), whom they found *there. West- 
ward they spread into Thuringia; eastward into the Hungarian 
and Galician lowlands. But their main achievement was to the 
north-west, where they overran the lowland as far south as the 
Seine, penetrated into Denmark and Scandinavia^ and built their 
'round barrows ' in south Sweden and south-western Norway. 
At the estuaries of the Elbe, Weser and Rhine, they took to the 
sea, and occupied the eastern districts of Britain, from the Thames 
to the Forth, driving the long-headed folk of the 'long barrows' 
into the forests, but not disturbing the more civilized 'megalithic* 
folk of Kent and the south and south-west. Here too their 'round 
barrows' indicate their distribution; and the 'beaker' types of the 
pottery in them clearly betray their affinities. And wherever they 
went, they settled and have remained, the ancestors of the 'John 
Bull* type of Englishman and the kindred continental stocks, 

The old long-headed Nordic people, whom they disturbed, 
partly coalesced with them, partly enlarged their own borders 
northward at the expense of the representatives of the old * Arctic" 
culture, till they were checked, partly by the climate, partly by 
the Mongoloid ancestors of the Lapps who had been working 
their way round the head of the Baltic as soon as the shrinkage of 
the last Swedish glaciers made this possible. 

In the Mediterranean, the 'bell-beaker' culture produced com- 
paratively small effects, so far as our present information goes^ It 
reached Sardinia and Sicily, but apparently not Malta; and there 
are no known traces of it on the north African coast. And its 
vogue appears to have been short. There seems to be good reason 
for this, as the west Mediterranean, and even the Mediterranean 
coast of Spain itself, began now to come under a fresh influence, 
which was to change the whole outlook of this region. It is only 
in this direction that we may hope to gain even relative dates. 

II, xii] THE BRONZE AGE 203 


The movement which initiated the Minoan bronze age culture 
in Crete and the Cyclades does not seem to have been confined to 
the Aegean, Its sources were multiple, and are not to be sought 
only in Egypt, though intercourse between the Nile and Crete 
was early, active and persistent. The implements and the pottery, 
both red-ware and painted, have much in common, as the very 
names of these styles imply, with Asia Minor and Syria and with 
that far-easterly culture which penetrated these regions early. 
Further west, the connecting links are scanty, but the fact that 
copper-working began early in south-eastern Spain, that the first 
copper implements there are the leaf-shaped dagger and the flat 
celt, ^and that with the copper appear fresh vase-forms and an 
imperfect red-ware technique, which spread rapidly and widely, 
suggests that this western copper-industry was not an independent 
discovery, but resulted from intercourse with the Levant. It was 
not, however, the * bell-beaker' regime of the plateau, but the 
smaller, more secluded, and hitherto more backward culture of the 
Almeria coastland, which acquired and exploited the new know- 
ledge; and the reason for this is certainly the wealth of copper 
ores in the coast ranges of Murcia and Granada, near enough to 
the sea to be accessible to prospectors, well supplied with timber 
for fuel, and perhaps already provided from the same source with 
seafaring vessels and oversea connexions of its own. Once intro- 
duced, the new industry developed rapidly; improved types of 
implements were designed; and the discovery, perhaps accidental, 
that certain ores yielded a yellower metal, resembling the gold 
which already circulated as a rarity in neolithic Spain, led to the 
employment of this for ornaments, which were traded into the 
interior for some while before the new alloy, as this yellow * bronze' 
was later discovered to be, was used for implements also, when its 
greater toughness was appreciated, and produced designedly with 
the aid of * tin-stone/ This mineral is widely distributed in certain 
districts of the far interior, and was soon traded to the copper- 
working districts, and eventually also abroad. At Hissarlik bronze 
is found in the second city, not later than 2000 B.C., and probably 
a good deal earlier, in weapons of Asia Minor type; in Egypt it 
appears first under the Vth Dynasty, not later than 2800 B.C.; aiid 
in Crete it goes back earlier still, almost to the beginning of the 
Minoan series. 

Here also therefore Spanish priority in discovery cannot be 
proved: the transmission of knowledge Is far more difficult to 


B detect than the transport of commodities; but it is significant that 
"in the tombs at Anjelu-Ruju, in Sardinia, which belong to a pre- 
metallic stage, and have a purely western culture, 10 out oT 63 
bodies are not of Mediterranean type, and are indistinguishable 
from the broad-headed stock of Asia Minor, which certainly was 
entering eastern Crete early in the Minoan age, and must there- 
fore be presumed to have had already some seafaring skill. These 
Sardinian Immigrants had not been there long, for there had not 
been time for them to mix their blood much with the natives. 
Other patches of broad-headed folk have been recognized in Gerba 
island, off western Tripoli, and in the hill-country of north- 
eastern Tunis, but the earliness of their arrival here has not been 
demonstrated. In Spain direct evidence of such * prospecting* 
aliens has not been recorded yet. 

It can hardly be accidental, however, that the nascent copper- 
Industry in the west is accompanied, like that of Asia Minor and 
Cyprus, by active production of silver. This metal however was 
for long of local importance mainly, the ease with which It tar- 
nishes in a moist climate making it far less popular in the north- 

Another invention, this time definitely Spanish, did much to 
popularize the western metal industry. The leaf-shaped dagger, 
already broadened at the base, was fixed transversely (like a flat 
celt) in a long handle, and the * halberd' so constructed was'in wide 
demand. Together with other western types (elongated or ex- 
panded celts, the triangular dagger itself, and a longer swordlike 
blade), it was introduced into Italy, where the discovery of copper 
ores in Elba and Etruria set that peninsula fairly soon on an inde- 
pendent career; while Its nearness to the great Danubian province, 
now mainly dominated (as we have seen) by people of the * bell- 
beaker' culture, gave it an insatiable market for its metal work, 
traded against Baltic amber, and perhaps tin from the Central 
German highland. Later on, the Danube basin, and particularly 
the Hungarian region of it, began to exploit its own wealth of ore 
and fuel, and created a culture of its own; but central and north- 
western Europe long depended almost exclusively on Italian 
models, and in great part on Italian traffic. 

As in the west Mediterranean, so along the Atlantic seaboard, 
the Spanish metal traffic with its special series of forms followed 
in the wake of the bell-beaker culture. Halberds of early Spanish 
type have been found on the Upper Danube, and were widely 
copied in the north-west, as far as Ireland. 

It appears to have been about the time of the Bohemian exodus 


(p. 101) that the knowledge of copper began to penetrate Into 
westerif and central Europe; in the west mainly from Spain, and 
so, Jh the wake of the 'bell-beaker' folk, into the Upper Danube 
valley; in the centre mainly from Italy, greatly aided apparently 
by the arrival near Brescia and elsewhere in north-eastern Italy, 
and eventually as far south as Latium, of parties of people ex- 
hibiting mixed Alpine and Danubian physique, and burying their 
dead contracted in earthen graves, in old Danubian fashion. As a 
similar settlement has been found near Landshut in the Inn valley, 
it looks as if the famous Inn-Adige route across the Alps was 
already in use and in the hands of people from the north side. It 
must be reserved for a later chapter to describe the improvements 
in copper a#d bronze objects which were made there, and how 
theycvere imitated in local factories north of the Alps, as northern 
ores were discovered and copper-working spread. Here it is suffi- 
cient to note that in all the earliest and some of the most important 
of the later types, such as the socketed celt, Italy supplied the 
models for all central Europe from the Carpathians to the Rhine, 
and competed, by way of Savoy and the Rhone valley, with the 
Spanish types which were already current further west. Far to the 
south-east, it is true, the copper and bronze of western Asia Minor 
seem to have been traded into Balkan lands through the second 
city at Hissarlik, and indirectly this traffic may have extended far, 
for amBer occurs in the second city, and celts, daggers, and pins, 
spiral-headed or with an eyelet in the stem, and all common to 
Hissarlik, Cyprus and Syria, are found in early lake-dwellings 
in Austria, But the disturbances due to the dispersal of the painted- 
ware people from Ukraine, and to the inroads of the 'tumulus- 
folk/ seem to have dislocated this traffic for a while; and it is not 
until a much later period, when the Late Minoan culture had at 
last reached the Hellespont and the north shores of the Aegean, 
not much before 1300 B.C., that its highly-developed swords, 
perforated axe-heads, and characteristic spiral decoration began 
to influence* the bronze work of Hungary and eventually of 
Denmark and Scandinavia. 

Considerably earlier than this, however, and probably not much 
later than the days of the second city at Hissarlik, Aegean ex- 
plorers began to sail westwards, and penetrate into the western 
Mediterranean. Occasional finds betray their intercourse with 
south Italy as early as the Middle Minoan period, not later than 
2000 B.C., trading with the Lipari islands for a rare decorative 
mineral, influencing the local pottery of Cassibile in Sardinia, and 
making at least one voyage as far as Marseilles. Their bronze 


swords, of rather later date, reached Sicily when the c painted Sicel* 
style was in its decline; and in the Late Minoan peridd, after 
1400 B.C. they had regular settlements on the east coast of Sfcily, 
and another at Tarentum. Their wares now reached the head of 
the Adriatic, and influenced the native metal-work of Este on the 
old Adige-route to the north, and of Etruria, probably by way of 
Bologna, which was then the great centre of intercourse between 
northern and central Italy. 


It was also perhaps by way of the Adriatic, rather than through 
the Macedonian passes, that Minoan manufactures, f.nd particu- 
larly the later types of bronze swords, reached the Middle Danube, 
and more especially the centres of a new culture which was de- 
veloping, under combined Italian, Hungarian, and Danubian in- 
fluences, in valley bottoms among the Austrian and Dalmatian 
Alps. Of the material culture of central Europe one great trading 
centre, Hallstatt, among the great salt-beds to which it owes its 
name and its exceptional wealth, gives, a little later, an unusually 
full glimpse; for this * Hallstatt culture* not only dominates all the 
Upper Danube, but exercises widespread influence over middle 
Germany, over central and northern France, and over Britain and 
Ireland. Its characteristic swords, modelled at two removes on the 
Late Minoan type already mentioned, travelled even further into 
Bosnia, Macedonia, Hungary, East Prussia, Posen, Hanover, 
Schleswig and Scandinavia and in later varieties into Spain and 
the British Isles. It was in fact the first culture so general as to 
deserve the name of European, and with its spread about 900 
800 B.C. this survey of the prehistoric world may close. 

Outlines of its distribution are given by the finds of a character- 
istic leaf-shaped sword with broad-flanged handleplate, a 'superior 
weapon' which cut its way rapidly in the hands or men of superior 
organization, across a large part of central Europe,, and betrays 
their occasional incursions into the coast lands or the Mediterra- 
nean, as far as the Greek islands and Egypt. ^ 

Several fresh factors contributed to this rapid expansion, and 
give the Hallstatt culture its distinctive quality. In the first place, 
this is the first great regional culture which made systematic use 
of the horse for riding as well as for driving. The horse had been 
hunted for food since palaeolithic times, but there is no clear evi- 
dence even of its domestication as a milch-animal, outside the 
high plateaux of central Asia, until a comparatively late date. 


The first positive record is in a Babylonian tablet of about 
2 100 B*.C,, where it is described as the 'ass from the east,' or 'from 
the**nountains/ and was therefore still a recent acquisition among 
the ass-using folk west of the Zagros range (p, 501). Its arrival here 
is commonly referred to that Irruption of fresh peoples from Iran 
or beyond, who founded the barbarian Kassite dynasty of Babylon 
about 1750 B.C.; and as there is no reason to believe that the great 
plateau of Iran itself was even then In much better condition than 
now to support an indigenous pastoral civilization, it is probable 
that this irruption originated further to the north-east, on the 
Sarmatian flatland, and that it is to be connected, in Its significance, 
if not precisely in date, with the irruption of Aryan-speaking folk 
into India .from the same northern reservoir, and with that west- 
ward outflow of the "tumulus-folk* across the Dnieper, which 
broke up the painted-ware culture of Tripolje and penetrated 
through Galicia into Bohemia, and through the Balkan lands into 
north-west Asia Minor (pp. 82 sqq.}. 

The rapidity and violence of these eruptions from the northern 
grassland, far exceeding in extent and effects all earlier move- 
ments of which we have any clear Indication, were themselves 
probably due less to the sudden urgency of unsettlement, than to 
the acquaintance of the unsettled peoples with unprecedented 
means of rapid and concerted movement, namely the domestic 
horse, as steed rather than milk-giver; though the practice of 
mediaeval and modern horse-riding nomads shows that the two 
functions are compatible, and that commissariat troubles almost 
disappear in such a mode of life, provided only that there is ample 

This however is precisely the most difficult condition to be at- 
tained within the Highland Zone and to the south of it; and it is 
only on the grassland itself, and in Hungary, Thrace, Thessaly and 
other Intermont plains in the Balkan lands; on the Phrygian and 
Cappadocian plateaux In Asia Minor; in the larger basins of north 
Syria; and in a few secluded troughs within the Median and 
Persian mountains, that local centres of horse-breeding and horse- 
manship were established permanently. The position of Egypt is 
ambiguous, as usual. It has been suggested that the peculiarities of 
the thoroughbred 'barb* variety point to an independent domes- , 
tication of a north African breed of horse now otherwise extinct; 
but it is noteworthy that Egypt does not seem to have made any 
use of horses at all, eastern, indigenous or western, until after 
the period of oppression by Asiatic invaders which separates 
the Xllth Dynasty from the XVIIIth; that is, until about 1600 


B.C.; and by this time the horse was apparently being already im- 
ported into Crete, only a little before the period at which the 
northern aggressors were beginning to break through into ^the 
coastlands of the Aegean. Once introduced, however, the horse 
found congenial quarters around the fen-margins of the Delta, and 
Egyptian chariotry met Hittite chariots and cavalry on equal terms 
in the Syrian wars of the thirteenth century. 

As in Cappadocia and Syria, so in Thrace and above all in Hun- 
gary, and eventually throughoxit the Danube valley, horse-driving, 
and eventually horse-riding conquerors organized and led their 
very mixed native levies, in every direction where there was pros- 
pect of loot and lands. The Phrygians, for example, passed over 
into Asia Minor in the thirteenth century, on the same track as 
earlier ^tumulus-folk,' and wrecked the decadent empire of* the 
horse-driving Hittites. Some think that the Homeric *Achaeans' 
represent another such incursion through Macedonia and Thessaly 
as far as * horse-grazing Argos.' The terremare-culture of the Po 
valley came to an abrupt and violent end through a similar invasion 
out of Styria and Krain, where most graphic representations of 
these sporting and fighting people are found on bronze vessels 
of rather later date. 

North of the Carpathians again, other bodies of essentially simi- 
lar horse-owning folk traversed the North German plain as far as 
Denmark, with similar social and political consequences. The sub- 
sequent adventures of these, and of the eventual Danubian and 
mid-German invaders of the maritime west, belong, however, 
to a later volume* 

It is not to be expected that the whole story of the coming of 
the horse should be based upon direct evidence of equine remains 
or of horse-bits and other horseman's gear. Enough, however, 
seems to be known of the general culture of the horse-owning 
peoples, to supplement such direct evidence as there is, by that of 
their weapons, ornaments, and other property. Of these, the swords 
already mentioned are the most significant; for among a multitude 
of earlier types developed by local craftsmen, especially in Hun- 
gary, from the old straight-edged daggers imported as we hav^ 
seen from Italy, and perhaps earlier still from Asia Minor by way of 
the Hellespont, there appears at last one, derived from an Aegean 
pattern, which gave these restless northern peoples what was in 
the literal sense the "superior weapon' against all adversaries. This 
* leaf-shaped* sword combined for the first time the advantages of 
thrust and of cut; and its long flat tang running the full length of 
the handle and furnished with lateral flanges gave the structural 


security of a girder where this was most absent from all earlier 
blades.*Its occurrence as far to the south-east as Egypt, along with 
other mid-European types, all belonging to the period of the great 
sea-raids of the years about 1200 B.C.; in Cyprus where it was 
eventually manufactured locally; and as far west as Spain and Ire- 
land, is the best proof of its efficiency as a weapon. From it were 
developed not only the specifically 'Hallstatt* swords of the tenth, 
ninth and eighth centuries, but the swords of the Greeks of classi- 
cal times, and less directly that shorter Spanish sword which was 
eventually adopted by the Romans. 

Another notable invention must be brought into retrospect here, 
and may fitly close our story; for it was during the domination of 
the leaf-sh%ped sword that bronze began to give place to iron as 
the material for cutting weapons; though rather in the south than 
in the home of those swords themselves. Until some first-class site 
has been properly explored in Asia Minor or North Syria, cer- 
tainty is unattainable at the most crucial points in the history of 
the new metal : but from the fragmentary material at present avail- 
able, the following points seem to be made out. Egypt had occa- 
sional, perhaps accidental, acquaintance with iron as a rarity, from 
late predynastic times, and received Syrian iron as a precious metal 
in tribute under the XlXth Dynasty, but made no general use of 
the metal till Greek times. Babylonia had no early iron, and though 
Assyria had it occasionally from the thirteenth century onwards, 
there was no iron industry there till later, and iron was mainly 
obtained from the highland district of Commagene between North 
Syria and Asia Minor* In Palestine, literary references presume 
that iron was in use as early as the eleventh century; and iron 
weapons occur at Lachish and other Philistine sites after the arrival 
of the sea-raiders at the beginning of the twelfth. In North Syria, 
an iron-using culture intrudes from the north-west in the twelfth 
century, and it is about the same time, after the collapse of the 
Minoan sea-power, and of the old coast-land civilization of Cilicia 
before similar intruders from inland, that iron weapons become 
common rather suddenly in Cyprus. 

m As a precious metal for jewellery, Cyprus, like Rhodes, Crete, 
and the Minoan area generally, had known iron since about 1400, 
and it was perhaps through Minoan intercourse that iron finger- 
rings became customary in parts of peninsular Italy. At Hissarlik, 
iron does not appear till after the destruction of the sixth city, 
which occurred not earlier than the twelfth century; and there is 
no reason at present to believe either that Asia Minor obtained its 
knowledge of iron from Europe (as has been suggested) or that it 


was brought to Europe directly by the Hellespontine route. In the 
north the * leaf-shaped ' swords are regularly of bronze, irbn only 
coming into use gradually during the 'Hallstatt* period, and super- 
seding bronze only at its close; later, that is, than in Greece, and 
later still than in Cyprus, where the weapons of * leaf-shaped" type 
are in iron throughout, from about the eleventh century. Traces 
both of the older use of iron as a treasured rarity, and of its later 
use for tools and weapons, occur in the Homeric poems, but with- 
out precise clue to the relative dates of the passages. That eventu- 
ally a great iron-working centre arose in Noricum, and repaid to 
Rome the north's ancient debt to Italian bronze, is iindisputed; 
and it may be that those who introduced the * leaf-shaped ' sword 
into Cyprus during the twelfth-century sea-raids parsed on the 
Levant's knowledge of iron-working to the north, by way of the 
Aegean or the Adriatic; but at present, priority seems to lie with 
the North Syrian source, with the possibility that this in turn may 
be found to be derivative from some other centre beyond Taurus, 
such as the Chalybes in north-eastern Asia Minor from whom 
early Greece obtained afterwards its finer quality of steel* 

A third revolution in custom, of a less material kind, finds its 
first illustration on any sufficient scale, in the great burial-ground 
at Hallstatt. The custom of cremation, as an alternative to burial, 
was of old standing in Europe; for it appears almost (though not 
quite) at the beginning of the lake-dwelling occupation of the 
Alpine region, and is also characteristic of the painted-ware cul- 
ture in Ukraine. But it is not confined to Europe, The Medi- 
terranean region knows it not, but practises interment uniformly, 
until after the first northern aggressions; and the painted-ware 
culture of Anau and Susa has simple earth graves or cists* In 
Palestine, however, cremation was practised in a very early phase 
of culture at Gezer, and, though it was superseded there later by 
burials which seem to represent the first Semitic immigrants, yet 
"they made a very great burning' for King Asa of Judah in the 
tenth ceti tury,- and only omitted it for King Jehoram, for special 
reasons, in the ninth. So it may be that at this far southern outlier 
of what we have already seen to be the larger habitat of * Alpine/ 
man an old forest-usage was retained as long as there was fuel to 

In late neolithic times, Alpine cremation spread into Italy with 
the 'terremare'-folk, and similarly on the north side of the Alps 
it came gradually into general use, passing over, for example, into 
Britain and Asia Minor alike. Something must however be allowed 
here for the dispersal of the Tripolje people westward, over the 

MAP 5 




MAP 6 





Land above 30Q0 feet 


middle basin of the Danube, and also for the prevalence of cre- 
mation among the Aryan-speaking invaders of India, and there- 
fore ^probably among other folk also on the northern grassland, 

At Hallstatt itself, the actual process of replacement is illustrated 
by many examples, interment being first supplemented by partial 
cremation, for example of the head, feet or abdomen, and only 
gradually superseded by total incineration. This, however, is a late 
instance; in Thessaly, cremation appears with the earliest 'leaf- 
shaped' swords, probably about the eleventh century, and the 
splendid pyre-funerals of the Homeric poems may anticipate this 
by a few generations, In Greece and in Italy, as in Herodotus' 
description of Thrace in his own day, both rituals persisted 
side-by-side^till Christian doctrine restored the aboriginal usage 
of thi south. 

Into the significance of this conflict of beliefs as to the latter 
end of Man, this is not the place to go : let Herodotus, with whose 
wisdom we began, close the story in his own way. 'Him who has 
left them, they bury in the earth, with gladness and sport, recount- 
ing all the evils from which he is now free and in perfect bliss' , . , 
'for three days they lay out the body, slay all sorts of sacrifice, and 
hold a feast, ending their mourning first; and then they bury, 
hming to ashes, or merely interring and cast a mound, and hold 
sports of every kind, in which the chiefest prizes are for single 
combat, Such is the Thradan's funeral' on the margin between 
two worlds, 



N every department of human life the past century has wit- 
JL nessedthe gradual growth of free enquiry. Documents formerly 
regarded as infallible have in recent years been made the subject 
of the severest criticism. Neither the sanction of long habitual 
acceptance, as in the case of the classical historians, nor the 
endorsement of the divine verbal inspiration attributed to the 
Hebrew Scriptures, has exempted the writings named from this 
treatment. The statements which they contain have been put to 
every conceivable test. Along with the textual and literary criticism 
of the documents themselves, there have advanced pan passu the 
exploration of the obscurer literatures of North European and 
of Oriental nations, the observation and tabulation of the rites, 
customs, and beliefs of peoples in primitive stages of civilization, 
and the excavation of ancient cities and settlements. A wealth of 
illustrative material has thus been collected, which has undoubt- 
edly illuminated many formerly dark passages in the historical 

It is not to be supposed, however, that archaeological or ethno- 
logical research can supersede the labour of the historical critic, 
or that the results of such work can be called in, definitely to cor- 
roborate or to refute his conclusions. Doubtless the archaeologist 
may discover an inscription which, referring to some historical 
event, may supplement, or correct, the account of the same event 
in the pages of some ancient historian. But even such an inscrip- 
tion must itself be submitted to criticism. Oriental monarchs were 
not above exaggerating their mighty deeds beyond all reason, and 
allowance must be made for this weakness. Archaeological research 
consists principally in the discovery and the classification of the 
common things of daily life houses, personal ornaments, domestic 
utensils, tools, weapons, and the like (see pp. i $q^ 66-70)* These 
are occasionally of value even to the historical critic; for example, 
they may help to expose anachronisms. If, to suggest a possible 
concrete case, a narrative should describe a community as using 
tools or weapons of iron, at a time when, as contemporary deposits 


indicate, it had not yet emerged from the earlier Bronze stage 
of cultnre, then the critic must re-examine Ms texts. Either the 
docmrnent is wrong in this particular, or, perchance,, the word 
which he has rendered 'iron 9 may be found, to have some other 
signification. The reader will understand that this illustration is 
merely put forward as an example of the kind of assistance which 
the archaeologist may render to the historian. Archaeological evi- 
dence of this nature must, however, be cross-examined, like every 
other evidence. In a case such as we have supposed, the archae- 
ologist must satisfy the historian that the deposits upon which he 
bases his deductions are fairly representative of the state of culture 
of the whole community, and not merely relics of some insigni- 
ficant and t^ickward group of people living within its borders, but 
haviag no direct connexion with the course of history. 

In archaeological study we cannot always deduce causes from 
the observed effects with mathematical certainty: the evidence is 
often ambiguous, and frequently there are no indications to en- 
able us to choose among several possible solutions of a problem. 
We may, for example, find a layer of ashes in a stratified city-site. 
The historian may tell us of a conquest or of a raid about the time 
of this deposit; but it is at least an even chance that the fire which 
produced the ashes was a mere accidental conflagration, of which 
no documentary record has been preserved. Indeed, it is in most 
cases desirable for the archaeologist to form his conclusions as to 
chronology and allied problems independently of the historian 3 
and for the two fellow-labourers to settle any differences by gradual 

To excavate merely with the purpose of 'confirming' written 
history is to court inevitable disappointment, and, what is worse, 
to do most serious injury to the sites examined. Out often thou- 
sand recorded events, not more than one or two can possibly leave 
any permanent record upon the aspect of the sites which witnessed 
them. Even the scars of war quickly heal on the face of the earth. 
Abraham, Joshua, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Paul march in a ma- 
jestic procession through Palestine, but we ransack the land in 
Xgin for their faintest footprint : they live in the written word alone. 
An explorer who should be so foolish as to go in pursuit of their 
relics would neglect, and very probably destroy, the countless 
valuable remains which he would actually meet. The true function 
of archaeological research is to discover the conditions amid which 
lived such heroes of old as we have mentioned; to show them, no 
longer as solitary, more or less idealised or superhuman, figures, 
but as men of like passions to ourselves moving with other men, 

C.A.H.I 8 


in a busy world engrossed in its secular interests, and making daily 
use of the common things of life. 

To excavate with the sole purpose of adding to the stock of 
written history, by the discovery or tablets, papyri, or inscriptions, 
is an equally fatal error. It would not be too severe to describe 
many excavations that have been made as mere 'tablet-piracies/ 
So engrossed has the excavator been in finding libraries of tablets 
the importance of which no one would dream of minimizing 
that he has neglected the pots and the pans, which are essential if 
he is to fill in the picture of the ancient life of the region. 

To Professor W, M. Flinders Petrie belongs the credit for 
calling attention to the importance of 'unconsidered trifles/ and 
he has shown it at many times during his long career as an ex- 
cavator. To mention one striking instance, by his preliminary re- 
connaissance at Tell el-Hesy, the site of Lachish, in Southern 
Palestine, he determined for all time the principles of the dating 
of Palestinian pottery. He proved, by comparing stratum with 
stratum in the mound that covered the remains of this often-re- 
built city, that every age had its own style of pot shapes or orna- 
ment, and of clay baking. At different times different foreign in- 
fluences were brought to bear upon the craftsman. So completely 
can the evolution be systematized, that, thanks to Prof. Petrie, 
whose scheme has not been modified by his successors except in 
occasional details, it is possible to date a Palestinian mound as 
unambiguously as if it had been full of inscriptions. Even from 
horseback an observant traveller can often assign approximate 
limits of date to an ancient site in the country. 

Among other advantages, the pottery-test affords a valuable 
check by which the modern identification of ancient sites can be 
tested and controlled. Many such identifications, made in the early 
days of research, chiefly on the unstable foundation of similarity 
of name, must now be abandoned, as the potsherds show that the 
date of the site, and the date assigned in the literary documents, 
do not correspond. Seeing that the comprehension of certain his- 
torical events (as, for example, military movements) often depends 
upon an exact understanding of topography, the unimportant 
sherds which the archaeologist collects may thus not infrequently 
become of at least an indirect value to the historian. 

The antiquities of the Near East have attracted the attention 
and interest of travellers from the days of Herodotus. But for the 
purposes of this chapter it is hardly necessary to go back further 
than the beginning of the nineteenth century. Before that time 
these monuments were a matter rather for intelligent curiosity 


than for serious scientific study. We recall how the Spectator^ in 
his first* number (i March 1711), describes himself as making *a 
Voyage to Grand Cairo, on purpose to take the Measure of a 
Pyramid/ and adding, 'as soon as I had set rny self right in that 
Particular, [I] returned to my Native Country with great Satis- 
faction/ In short, having acquired a disconnected scrap of in- 
formation, in itself of only moderate interest, he made no further 
use of it. He was typical of his time. 

It was, indeed, impossible for any progress to be made in re- 
search so long as the inscriptions remained undecipherable. The 
outward appearance of Egyptian hieroglyphs was probably familiar 
to some Europeans at all times. The more remote cuneiform of 
Mesopotamia and Asia Minor was naturally for long quite un- 
knovrti; but from the time of the publication of Pietro della Valle's 
delightful letters describing his extensive Oriental travels, there 
was at least a scrap of knowledge available with regard to the as- 
pect of that mysterious script, for the writer named has repro- 
duced five characters which he saw at Persepolis; and has stated 
reasons for his supposition, which proved correct, that they should 
be read from left to right. The letter in which he gives these Old 
Persian characters is dated 21 October 1621. But the only sources 
of knowledge on which would-be decipherers could draw, down 
to the beginning of the nineteenth century, were the writers of 
Greece; and, as has been subsequently proved, even in the meagre 
information which they vouchsafe on these obscure points, they 
were blind leaders of the blind. 

In this chapter it is proposed to give a brief survey of the history 
of the archaeological researches of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries, which have so greatly enlarged our knowledge of Egypt, 
Babylonia and Assyria, and neighbouring lands; have revealed the 
empire of the Hittites; and have discovered the unsuspected 
civilization that flourished in the lands of the Aegean in the third 
and second millennia B.C. In setting forth the material, we shall 
follow the order in which a pioneer expedition to any country 
would naturally conduct its researches. First would come a survey 
o&the country, with an enumeration of the remains above ground; 
secondly, the collection and decipherment of its inscriptions; and 
thirdly, the excavation of its cities and burial places. 




Many accounts of the wonders of Egypt have come down to 
us from the hands of early writers. Herodotus has provided rich 
material for controversy with his descriptions of Lake Moeris and 
of the Labyrinth; and, in later times, the pyramid-fields accessible 
from Cairo attracted the attention of many mediaeval travellers 
and pilgrims. It is, however, hardly worth our while to expend 
space upon these fragmentary allusions. It is a strange and prob- 
ably a unique fact that the foundations of scientific Egyptology 
were laid in a military expedition. With the army that Napoleon 
conveyed to Egypt in 1798., in pursuance of his enter prises/ there 
were a number of draughtsmen and of keen scientific enquirers, 
and these made so good a use of their time and opportunities that 
they collected an unprecedented mass of topographical informa- 
tion* On the materials which they brought together is based the 
great Description de V&gyfte published in many volumes by the 
French Academy between 1809 and 1813, in which we find the 
first systematic account of the monuments of the Valley of the Nile. 

The inscriptions reproduced in this publication, although the 
copies were not without faults as was to be expected, considering 
that they were in a script as yet completely unintelligible fur- 
nished a quantity of useful material for those who first seriously 
attempted to unlock the secret of the hieroglyphs. When, as we 
shall see in the next section, Champollion had made some progress 
with the decipherment of the inscriptions, he was enlisted in the 
second great survey, that of Rosellini in 1828, Xhis enterprise 
considerably enlarged the body of knowledge accessible on the 
subject of the topography of the country; and the reading of the 
inscriptions made it possible for the first time to arrange the 
monuments in some historical order. The result of the expedition 
was not published, however, till after Champollion "s death in 1831* 

These explorations had confined themselves to the lower part 
of the Nile valley that below the Aswan cataract. The study^of 
Egyptian remains In Nubia, and as far south as Khartum., was the 
work of the next survey, that of Lepsius in 1 840, This scholar had 
become the most prominent authority of the day on the Egyptian 
language. Not only did he examine the surface, but at Memphis 
and other places he made excavations. He thus greatly enlarged 
the geographical limits within which Egyptian remains were to be 
studied, and, further, in returning, he discovered and published 


the important inscriptions left behind by the ancient Egyptian 
miners *at the copper-bearing parts of the Sinai Peninsula. 

By this time the main facts as to the surface antiquities of 
Egypt had been ascertained and put on record. All the monu- 
ments that a traveller would see in journeying through the country 
had been noted and delineated. Of course hardly a year has passed 
since then without adding some detail a new inscription or graf- 
fito, for example but in the main the statement may stand, that 
Lepsius exhausted the general topographical study of the country. 
The peculiar conformation of Egypt, a long narrow strip on each 
side of a river, and bordered by uninhabitable desert, makes it 
possible for a single expedition to cover the whole ground in a way 
hardly possible in any other country. More scientific and artistic 
cartclgraphy may have been undertaken since the time of Lepsius: 
the Egypt Exploration Fund is carrying out a detailed archaeo- 
logical survey; and the erection of the Aswan dam, which involved 
the submersion of important ancient remains over a wide extent 
of territory, necessitated a close examination of the country af- 
fected. But most of the significant work subsequent to Lepsius 
has been excavation rather than exploration. 


The few particulars of value regarding the Egyptian hiero- 
glyphs, preserved by a number of more or less obscure Greek 
writers, would never have been sufficient to enable a scholar to 
decipher a single inscription. Till the discovery at Rashid (Ro- 
setta), near Alexandria, by an officer of the Napoleonic expedition, 
of a bilingual inscription, in Egyptian and Greek, and till its sub- 
sequent analysis by European scholars, no solution of the riddle of 
Egyptian writing could be found. 

The Rosetta stone is a large slab of basalt bearing an inscrip- 
tion three times repeated. At the bottom the text appears in Greek, 
at the top in hieroglyphics; in the middle it is given again in 
Egyptian, but in a cursive simplification of the hieroglyphic called 
'Demotic/ The hieroglyphic part of the inscription is much 
broken, and every line has lost its beginning and end; the Greek 
portion is also imperfect at the bottom. With regard to the con- 
tents of the inscription, all that we need say is that it is a proclama- 
tion by the priests of Memphis, setting forth the good deeds of 
Ptolemy Epiphanes, and decreeing that his statue shall be set up 
in every temple in Egypt. 

The Rosetta stone is often supposed to have been the sole key 
used for the solution of the problem of decipherment. But this is 


not the case. The decipherers proceeded on the method adopted 
by readers of the common substitutionary form of cryptograms. 
The first step in such a process would necessarily be the dfeter- 
mination of the phonetic meaning of the characters; and the lan- 
guage of the Egyptian part of the inscription being unknown, this 
could not be done unless with the aid of -proper names^ which 
would be common to the Greek and the Egyptian. The Rosetta 
stone, in its present condition, happens to contain but one proper 
name that of Ptolemy, In Zoega's De origine et usu obeliscorum 
(1797), the happy speculation was adventured that groups of 
characters surrounded with an oval ring or cartouche are proper 
names, or else especially sacred formulae. They are, as a matter of 
fact, royal names; and such a group of characters occurred in the 
Rosetta inscription at places corresponding to the appearance of 
the name riTOAEMAIOS (Ptolemaios) in the Greek version. An 
obelisk from the island of Philae supplied in 1822 the neces- 
sary further material. This bore inscriptions in Greek and Egyp- 
tian; it had the name IITQAEMAIOZ, and corresponding to it a 
cartouche identical with that on the Rosetta stone; it had also the 
name K A EOF"! AT PA (Cleopatra) with a different cartouche corre- 
sponding. Now the hieroglyphic letters in these cartouches (setting 
them out in a row) were respectively as follows; 


w i 

x a 3 4 5 67 


Here it is obvious that A I is the same as B 5, and thus must be 
equated to the Greek fl (/>), which comes in the same positions in 
the Greek form of the names. Likewise A 4 is the same as B 2, 
and by the same argument must be equivalent to A (/). Again A 3 
and B 4 are alike, and must therefore somehow represent the 
Greek O. In B, letters 6 and 9 are the same, and must have been 
regarded as equivalents to A, We have now got a framework of 
known letters, with gaps between them that can be filled imme- 
diately by reference to the Greek; we can thus identify A 2 as T, 
A 5 as M, and presumably A 7 as (s\ the preceding letter being 
in some way representative of the group of Greek vowels A!O. 
Similarly, in B, we learn to treat letter I as K, 3 as the equivalent 
of E, and 8 as P (r), 7 is T, but here we are introduced to the 
differentiation of cognate sounds, for it is a different character 
which is used for the same Greek equivalent in the first name. As 


for the two remaining characters, their explanation came in due 
time wB.en it was recognized that they always follow and distin- 
guish divine female proper names ; the one is /, the feminine suffix, 
the other an egg. 

An alphabet of eleven phonetic characters was thus obtained. 
The list was extended by applying it to other cartouches found in 
the publication of the French Academy, some of which contained 
the names of Roman Caesars or of Ptolemaic monarchs or queens, 
known from accessible historical sources. A few letters of each of 
these being determined, the rest followed automatically, as in the 
solution of a cryptogram. When a sufficient body of phonetic 
characters had been determined, the application of the key thus 
obtained to*the body of the Rosetta inscription proved that the 
Egyptian language was the ancestor of the modern Coptic. This 
tongue therefore provided a clue, making it possible to identify 
the common words with their Greek equivalents, and to systematize 
the grammatical structure of the language. Thus were the founda- 
tions laid on which three generations of Egyptologists have built 
ever since. The study, however, grows in complexity as it ad- 
vances. The language is now known to have changed greatly 
during its long life: the ancient Pyramid texts are in a very differ- 
ent form of the language from the inscriptions of the later empire. 
The principle that the script represents the consonantal framework 
of the language only (adopted by the Berlin school of Erman, but 
first enunciated by Brugsch in 1 857), and that the characters once 
supposed to be vowels are not so primarily, has added serious 
difficulty to the grammatical study (see p. 341 $$.*)* 

Readers of books on Egyptology are often perplexed by the 
variety of spellings adopted by different scholars in rendering 
Egyptian words, and especially proper names. To make them pro- 
nounceable at all, the vowels must be supplied; but in most cases 
there is little or no guidance to the correct vocalization. And even 
the nature of the nuances which distinguished the sounds of the 
so-called homophonous consonants is not always certain: thus, 
there are several kinds of d^ k and h sounds, as there are in the 
Semitic languages, but the nature of the differences between them 
cannot always be determined. There is thus an unavoidable differ- 
ence of opinion among scholars as to the true principles of trans- 
literation of words written in hieroglyphics : and whenever Hero- 
dotus or Manetho happens to give us a Grecized form, that form 
is often adopted for simplicity's sake. 

It is regrettable that personal and international jealousies have 
done much to obscure the question of the man or men first respon- 


sible for this great addition to knowledge. Four names stand out 
prominently in the history of the pioneer researches : the renowned 
Oriental scholar, De Sacy; Akerblad, Swedish Minister at R5me; 
Thomas Young; and Jean Frangois Champollion. It was the de- 
motic text which first attracted attention in the Rosetta Stone, and 
a facsimile was prepared by the Society of Antiquaries of London 
for distribution among scholars. De Sacy and Akerblad first pub- 
lished dissertations upon it in 1802, and the latter succeeded in 
identifying correctly fourteen of its characters. Dr Thomas Young 
(17731829)3 one of those singular * Admirable Crichtons* who 
were more numerous in former generations than they are now,, in 
these days of specialization, published in 1814 a study of the de- 
motic characters with an alphabet embodying AkerbfexFs results* 
but without sufficient acknowledgment of his predecessor's ^rork; 
it is true, he seems to have arrived at his own results independ- 
ently, but he had certainly read Akerblad's essay before he pub- 
lished, his own. Later, in 1 8 1 8, he contributed an extensive article 
on Egypt to the Encyclopaedia Britanmca y embodying all his re- 
searches, with an explanation (on the whole very incorrect, it must 
be confessed) of about 200 hieroglyphs. 

The true founder of scientific Egyptology, so far as the lan- 
guage is concerned, was undoubtedly Champollion (i79 o ~"" I 83 2 )> 
who, again, worked on similar lines to the other investigators, and 
(as it would appear) with full knowledge of the progress of their 
researches. It is regrettable that, as Young absorbed the work of 
Akerblad, so he seems to have quietly appropriated the work of 
Young, without doing justice to his useful pioneer labours. He 
possessed, however, a thorough knowledge of Coptic, which his 
rivals lacked, and without which even in modern times a scientific 
study of the language is impossible; and thus equipped, he was 
able far to outdistance his competitors, and to win for himself a 
permanent fame which a little more generosity to his fellow- 
labourers would not have diminished. 


It is impossible to give any complete survey of the history cf 
Egyptian excavation. A few details only can be mentioned. We 
have already seen that Lepsius conducted some excavations at 
Memphis and elsewhere during his survey of the country. But the 
real founder of excavation work in Egypt was Augusta Marietta, 
the first director of the Cairo Museum. For the thirty years fol- 
lowing 1850 Mariette had the whole work of excavation in his 
own hands under an exclusive permit; and as all Egypt was virgin 


soil before him, it is not surprising that his name is associated with 
some of the most epoch-making discoveries that have been made 
in trie country. The Serapeum of Memphis (the cemetery of the 
sacred Apis bulls), the temple of the Sphinx at Gizeh, and the 
cemeteries of Sakkarah, are among the chief fruits of his labours, 
as well as the clearance of the great temples of Abydos, Medinet 
Habu, Der el-Bahri, and Edfu from the rubbish that centuries of 
Arab neglect had allowed to accumulate. At the same time in- 
numerable inscriptions, works of art, statues, and other minor ob- 
jects enriched the museums of Paris or of Cairo. After his death 
in 1880, while the Cairo Museum continued., very properly, to 
reserve the right to prevent unique or otherwise valuable objects 
from leaving the country, permission was extended to representa- 
tives*of other countries to increase knowledge by conducting ex- 
cavations on their own account. The reign of Maspero (afterwards 
Sir Gaston Maspero) in the Cairo Museum was brilliantly inau- 
gurated by the opening of the pyramid of Unas at Sakkarah, on 
the walls of whose chamber were found the priceless * Pyramid 
Texts,* documents of absolutely inestimable value for the philo- 
logical history of the Egyptian language, and for the study of the 
early development of Egyptian religious ideas. 

In 1883 the English Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt 
Exploration Society) was founded, and has since done steady work 
in several departments: excavation, surface exploration and sur- 
vey, including the publication of inscriptions; and Greco-Roman 
studies, more especially the decipherment and publication of the 
immense stores of papyri which certain sites have yielded. France, 
Germany, Switzerland and the United States of America followed 
suit in establishing and maintaining excavating expeditions. Every 
year produces a bewildering mass of new material. Among the 
more striking discoveries are the cache of Royal Mummies (Mas- 
pero and Loret, 1 88 1), the sites of Tanis and of Naucratis (Petrie, 
18845% the Tell el-Amarna correspondence (1887), the site of 
Bubastis (Naville, 18879), Tell el-Amarna, and the numerous 
relics of the Heresy of Ikhnaton (Petrie, 1891), the Fayyum ex- 
cavations, which resulted in the identification of the Lake Moeris 
and of the Labyrinth of Herodotus, the Greco-Roman mummy 
portraits, and the first great collection of Greco-Roman papyri 
(Petrie, 1888), the treasures of the pyramids of Dahshur (De 
Morgan, 1 8 94), the tombs of the early dynastic kings at Abydos 
(Amelineau, 1895, continued in later years by Petrie and by 
Naville), the * Israel 7 stele of Merneptah (Petrie, 1896), the *pre- 
dynastic ' race, first found at Nakadah (Petrie, 1896), the Tombs of 


the Kings near Thebes (various explorers and years most re- 
markable, probably, being the rich tomb of the parents of Queen 
Tiy, and of the Queen herself, by T. Davis, 1 904-6), the tonlb of 
Osiris at Abydos (Naville, 1902, and following years), the Ara- 
maic papyri at Elephantine (i 905 and following years), the de- 
tailed study of the temple of Der el-Bahri, resulting in the dis- 
covery of the wonderful Hathor cow-figure and many other works 
of art (Naville, a work of many years). This may suffice to give 
some idea of the work that has been no less energetically pursued 
since the date at which this enumeration stops 1 . 


The testimonies of early travellers regarding the 'remains of 
Mesopotamia are for the greater part confined to the two biblical 
sites of Nineveh and Babylon the former close to the town of 
Mosul, the latter not far from Baghdad. The tradition of the 
identification of these two sites was never quite lost, although 
some travellers express themselves as sceptical about them. From 
the point of view of archaeological discovery, however, the 
criticisms and observations of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
century pioneers are of historical interest only. 

As in the case of Egypt, it was the nineteenth century which 
witnessed the real beginning of scientific work in Mesopotamia. 
In the important department of surface surveying the first name 
that calls for mention is that of C. J. Rich (1787 1 820), Resident 
in Baghdad of the East India Company, who employed his leisure 
in visiting and surveying the gigantic mounds and fields of ruins 
which represent the ancient cities of Babylonia and Assyria. By 
his labours, accurate knowledge became available for the first time 
as to the real magnitude and outward appearance of the remains 
at such sites as Babylon, Arbela, Nineveh and others* During, and 
soon after, Rich's official residence at Baghdad, the best-known 
remains were visited by Buckingham (i 8 r 6), R 1C Porter (i 8 1 8), 
Mignan (1837), 9* ^ Eraser (1834), and other travellers, all of 
whom added details of importance to the facts already recorded^ 
But a detailed survey of the whole region was still lacking : there 
was as yet nothing but the observations of single travellers upon 
individual sites. 

This want was in part supplied by the survey, in 18357, of 
the courses ^of the Euphrates and Tigris, by a British expedition 
tinder the direction of General Chesney. The maps which embody 

1 On the work of the Egyptian Research Account, the Egyptian 
Exploration Society, etc., see p. 625 (r). 


the results of this work were the foundation for all later topo- 
graphicM investigation. Although the purpose of the Chesney ex- 
pedition was commercial and political rather than scientific, science 
profited in no small degree by the results of the work, and a great 
stimulus was given to further exploration. Of more immediate 
scientific value were the surveys of Assyria by JL F. Jones (1852), 
and the unfinished reconnaissance of Babylon under Selby, in the 
early sixties. 


The decipherment of the cuneiform characters was a task of 
considerably greater difficulty than that of the Egyptian hiero- 
glyphs. In the latter study, the investigators had the assistance of 
inscriptions in a form of writing and language so thoroughly well- 
known as Greek; and when the Egyptian words themselves began 
to emerge from the hieroglyphic mystery which enshrouded them, 
their similarity to their Coptic progeny made the further task of 
interpretation comparatively smooth. In the case of the cuneiform 
characters, however, the decipherers had first to contend with the 
complexity and apparent want of individuality of the symbols 
themselves, and with their enormous number. Nor was there any 
available translation, in a known language, of any of the inscrip- 
tions to be analysed. True, the key was ultimately obtained, as in 
all such cases, by the use of bilingual inscriptions; but the 'trans- 
lation' had itself to be first made intelligible. Though the deci- 
pherers were not obliged (in current phrase) to interpret ignotum 
per ignofius, it is certainly true that they had to interpret ignotum 
far ignotum. 

Already in 1765 Niebuhr had surveyed the imposing ruins of 
Persepolis, a site which had shared with Nineveh and Babylon the 
interest of the earlier travellers, but by reason of their magnitude 
rather than of their historical associations; and he had pointed out 
that the cuneiform characters, while possessing a superficial simi- 
larity in all inscriptions, were not always identical in detail. There 
were certain inscriptions which appeared to be in a simplified form 
<?f the script (Old Persian) : in these comparatively few characters 
some forty were employed, and the words were divided 
by a single oblique wedge. In others a more complex script, em- 
ploying many characters, was used (Susian or Elamite). A third 
form (Babylonian) was distinguished by a still greater elaboration 
of the groups of wedges which formed the individual characters, 
and by an even greater number of signs. In many cases these 
three forms were found side by side, and it was natural to suppose 


that such groups were a threefold presentation of the same state- 
ment, like the three parallel legends on the Rosetta stoneC 

The first successful attempt at deciphering any of the cilnei- 
form characters was made by G. F. Grotefend, who in 1 802 identi- 
fied three royal names in the simplified script. Being ignorant of 
Oriental languages, he was unable to make further progress; but 
he had succeeded in ascertaining the correct values of about one- 
third of the Old Persian letters. His dissertation, presented to the 
Gottingen Academy, was refused publication; not till 1893 was it 
unearthed and printed from Grotefend's MS, as a landmark in 
the history of cuneiform studies. It is noteworthy that the first 
steps towards the unriddling of the hieroglyphs of Egypt and 
the cuneiform characters of Mesopotamia were made*:*! the same 
year. Meanwhile at Naksh-i-Rustam. inscriptions in Greek aftd in 
the Pehlevi script of Persian afforded the clue, in the hands of De 
Sacy, to the latter character; and Anquetil-Duperron (stimulated 
by Thomas Hyde's History of Persian Religion, 1700)., succeeded 
by his studies of the Avesta in further advancing the knowledge 
of the Old Persian,, the language which ultimately proved to be of 
great value for the decipherment of the cuneiform. Even so early 
as 1823, Saint-Martin had shown that a vase, first published in 
1762, with inscriptions in Egyptian and cuneiform, was a bi- 
lingual : the cuneiform being the Persian equivalent of the Egyp- 
tian, shown by ChampolHon to read 'Xerxes the Great King/ 

Grotefend is the Akerblad or the Young of cuneiform studies; 
their ChampolHon is Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson* This mili- 
tary officer, stationed in Persia on diplomatic duty, without any 
previous knowledge of Grotefend's work, succeeded independ- 
ently in finding his key; and as he possessed the knowledge which 
Grotefend lacked of ancient tongues, such as Zend (cognate with 
the Old Persian language of the cuneiform inscriptions), he was 
able to carry the solution of the problem to the end, The discovery 
of the key rests on what may not unfairly be called a happy guess. 
Near Hamadan Rawlinson discovered two short inscriptions, set 
forth in the trilingual form already observed at Persepolis. When 
the texts of the ' simplified * script, on which it was natural to begin 
the study, were set side by side, it was found that they were prac- 
tically identical, save in two places. In the twelfth line of inscrip- 
tion A there was a word, which we may denote by #, and corre- 
sponding to it in inscription B was a different word, y* In the nine- 
teenth line of inscription A a third word, z, was found, and in the 
corresponding place of B the word x reappeared. Rawlinson 
assumed that these three words were the names of kings; that the 


Inscriptions were the proclamations of successive kings, who In 
the cotfrse of their inscriptions referred to themselves and to their 
fathers; and that therefore -the name of the king In the earlier of 
the two inscriptions would appear in the place assigned to the 
name of the king's father In the later. By trial this theory could be 
tested; all that was needed was to find, if possible,, three successive 
monarchs whose names would fit the alphabetic characters. This 
proved to be actually the case with Hystaspes, Darius, and Xerxes, 
in their Old Persian forms; and the identification of their names 
with the three words gave Rawlinson fourteen characters of the 
alphabet. With the knowledge of Zend which he possessed, the 
extension of the decipherment to cover the whole ground of the 
simplest fb#m of cuneiform, now proved to be Old Persian, was 
only a matter of time. 

The two more complex forms still remained unknown, but 
the conquest of the Persian inscriptions provided the necessary 
key. On the borders of Media stands the great isolated rock of 
Behistun, rising sheer from the surrounding plain to a height of 
about 1700 feet. On a portion of the surface of this rock, chosen 
at a height of 300 feet no doubt to guard against the wilful de- 
facement of later generations and specially prepared for the pur- 
pose,, Darius Hystaspes had caused to be engraved, in the year 
516 B.C., a long account of the glories of his reign, and of his 
triumphs over his many enemies, foreign and domestic. This in- 
scription, again, is trilingual, and being of considerable length it 
offers much valuable material to the decipherer; moreover, owing 
to the nature of its contents, it contains a large number of proper 
names, the first landmarks to be noted by those who would un- 
ravel an unknown script. With wonderful perseverance Rawlinsoti 
overcame the dangers and difficulties of climbing the rocks and of 
copying and making squeezes of the inscriptions, a work which he 
began in 18357, and continued at intervals, as his official duties 
gave him opportunity, till, in 1847, he was able to publish a com- 
plete translation, with full grammatical analysis, of the Persian text. 

Rawlinson then proceeded to the third (the Babylonian) cunei- 
form script and with Immediate success. Other labourers were 
soon attracted into the field, chief among them being Edward 
Hincks, an Irish clergyman, to whom much of the credit of ex 
tending the conquest into the more difficult field of the associated 
scripts is due. Oppert, de Saulcy, and Talbot are also to be teamed 
among these pioneers. The discovery that Babylonian and Assyrian 
for both began to emerge when the force of the characters was 
determined were Semitic tongues, closely cognate with Hebrew, 


to some extent lightened the labour. The decipherment was sub- 
mitted to a final test in 1857, when the Royal Asiatic "Society 
challenged students to prepare translations, without collaboration, 
for official comparison, of the long inscription on the newly-found 
cylinder of Tiglath-pileser I. Rawlinson, Hincks, Talbot, and 
Oppert all submitted renderings; and when these were unsealed 
and compared, the President of the Society was able to announce 
that the renderings were so close as to leave no doubt that the true 
key had been found, and that the new science, loosely named 
"Assyriology/ was thus established on a solid foundation. 

The difficulties of the decipherment of the Semitic cuneiform 
inscriptions, as compared with the Persian, lie in the following 
facts : the characters are not alphabetic, but syllabic or ideographic; 
in consequence, as was first pointed out by Botta, words oft be 
written in different ways, using different syllabic combinations, or 
even ideograms alone; while even a small inflexion of a word may 
change its external aspect. Moreover, each character has not always 
one meaning alone, and each syllable is not necessarily represented 
by one sign alone. Very many of the characters have more than 
one sound attached to them, to be determined from the context; 
and there are many groups of different characters having some 
one phonetic significance in common. This difficulty was felt by 
the ancient scribes themselves; who, for their own guidance and for 
the help of their pupils, drew up elaborate sign-lists, which have 
proved of great service to modern interpreters. This ambiguity 
will explain the bewildering variety of form which historical and 
legendary names have assumed in the hands of different scholars 
Ut(a)-Napishtim and Shamas-Napishtim; Ur-Bau and Ur~ 
Engur, and so forth. 

It is not only such coincidences of reading as the test in 1857* 
that have given modern scholars their security in reading cunei- 
form script. Their assurance comes also from the conformity of 
the Babylonian and Assyrian languages they are almost one 
thus revealed, with the grammatical formulae of Semitic speech; 
from the Aramaic endorsements sometimes found upon contract- 
tablets, which give in a well-known script transliterations of namer 
recorded in the cuneiform documents; from certain late cuneiform 
renderings of Greek words; from fragments of the Aramaic trans- 
lation of the Behistun inscription found on Elephantine Island; 
and from the discovery at Boghaz Keui of the cuneiform (Baby- 
lonian) version of the treaty between Ramses II and the Hittites, 
of which the Egyptian version had long been known. 

The second group of cuneiform characters is now known to 


represent a later form of the old language of Susa or Elam : It is 
of an agglutinative construction. The decipherment of this group 
is di??e largely to Westergaard and Norris (184452). 

Meanwhile*, Hincks in 1850 recognized that the cuneiform 
used for the writing of the Semitic languages of Mesopotamia was 
not originally devised for the purpose, but had been borrowed 
from some other source which was variously called 'Scythian' 
(Hincks), * Akkadian' (Rawlinson) or 'Sumerian' (Oppert). This 
was the first seed of the great * Sumerian * controversy. For as in- 
vestigation advanced, another language made its appearance, of 
agglutinative form, a language which had been assiduously studied 
by the Babylonians, for tablets with vocabularies and interlinear 
translations -from this unknown tongue into Babylonian were dis- 
covered. It seemed impossible that the very ancient Babylonian 
civilization should have been preceded by another, altogether for- 
gotten, which had in fact taught its arts to the Babylonians : and 
some scholars accordingly sought refuge from such a conclusion 
by supposing that the parent culture was a purely artificial con- 
trivance of the Babylonian priests. This view is no longer held, 
but there is still some difference of opinion as to the priority of 
Sumerian or Semitic; and the uncertainty whether particular 
proper names are to be regarded as the one or the other accounts 
for some of the above-mentioned differences in transliteration* See 
further, pp. 357, 364 sy. y 371, 


The story of formal excavation in Mesopotamia begins in 1842, 
with the exploration of the mounds now called Kuyunjik and 
Khorsabad respectively. Paul Botta was appointed French consu- 
lar agent at Mosul in that year, and his ambitions were aroused by 
the sight of the great mounds almost at his door. Dependent on 
his own personal resources, he at first attacked Kuyunjik, but 
with discouraging results; afterwards, acting on a hint given him 
by a friendly native, he turned his attention to Khorsabad, and 
almost immediately uncovered the great sculptures of the palace 
o Sargon* 

Three years later (Sir) Henry Layard opened the mound of 
Nimrud (the biblical Calah), and in it discovered the palaces of 
Ashur-nasir-pal, Sargon, Shalmaneser, and other great Assyrian 
monarchs. He found the huge winged bulls, the graphic sculptures 
of Ashur-nasir-pal, the black obelisk of Shalmaneser, and other 
priceless treasures which now adorn the British Museum. In his 
second expedition (1849-1850) he found at Kuyunjik the palace- 


sculptures of Sennacherib, and the first of those great and varied 
store-houses of vanished literature, the palace libraries? But to 
make a full list of Layard's numerous and varied discoveries, r even 
to enumerate the mounds which he examined, would here be im- 
possible. It is little wonder that popular enthusiasm was aroused, 
for the public mind was at the time being rendered uneasy by the 
advances of biblical criticism, and the enunciation of the doctrines 
of evolution, with all that they implied. The obvious bearing of 
these discoveries on the credibility of the Scriptural history did 
not fail to kindle an interest that mere art or archaeology could 
not hope to arouse. 

While we must in fairness not forget that in the fifties of the 
last century the principles of scientific excavation a new disci- 
pline had not been established, we cannot withhold criticism 
from the methods of these early pioneers. It was a fatal mistake to 
wander from mound to mound, pitting here and there in search 
of sculptures and of piles of tablets. Not only were the architectural 
monuments disturbed, but the eyes of the local natives were opened 
to the value of loot so easily gathered. The expense of completely 
working out one single site would indeed be great, but the scien- 
tific results would exceed to an extent incalculable those of the 
same amount of scrappy work at a large number of sites. 

Layard's work was continued, after his departure from the scene 
of his labours, by his former companion, a cultivated native of the 
country, Hormuzd Rassam. He, too, had the good fortune that 
proverbially attends the beginner: in 1853 he found at Kuyunjik 
the palace of Ashur-bani-pal, with its sculptures and its library; 
many years later (1878) lie discovered the famous bronze gates 
of Balawat, and in 1882 he finished his career with the identifica- 
tion and partial excavation of the site of Sippan 

So far Assyria had been the centre of interest. In 185*4 Baby- 
lonia began to attract the attention of the digger, the work of 
Loftus on the site of Erech being the first extensive work of the 
kind in that country. He was followed by Layard, who excavated, 
but without conspicuous success, in Babel, Nippur, and one or two 
other sites. The great mounds of Babylonia were found to ofj^r 
no such immediate and startling results as those of the Assyrian 
palaces. The buildings were for the greater part in brick, and their 
interest was religious rather than artistic or domestic* This does 
not, of course, detract from their scientific importance; but it 
makes it less easy to interest those on whom the explorers have to 
count for financial aid. Nor did the early Babylonian excavations 
produce such great literary harvests as the libraries of Assyria* 


Unable to linger over these early excavations we have to pass 
over witii a bare mention Taylor's digging at Abu Shahrein and 
his examination of the temple of the moon-god at Mukayyar 
(Ur) in 1 855,, and Rawlinson's investigation, about the same time, 
which finally settled the character of the tower-temple of Nebu- 
chadrezzar, called in modern times el-Birs, and popularly sup- 
posed to be the ruin of the Tower of Babel (p. 503). 

The next great discovery was made in the British Museum. On 
the 3rd of December 1872, George Smith, a man of unusual 
natural gifts, who had at first been employed as an assistant in a 
quite subordinate capacity, read a paper before the newly-founded 
Society of Biblical Archaeology which began with these words 
surely the boldest announcement ever made of an epoch-making 
find : 4 A short time back I discovered among the Assyrian tablets 
in the British Museum an account of the Flood/ This was the 
first of that wonderful series of Cosmogonic legends that Assyria 
has yielded to us, new examples of which still come to light from 
time to time, and which, joined with the progress of geology and 
of historical criticism, have revolutionized the current conceptions 
of the early chapters of Genesis. Enthusiasm was aroused to an 
extraordinary height, and the Daily Telegraph subsidized an ex- 
pedition to be conducted by Smith in search of more tablets. In 
this and in a later expedition, at the charges of the British 
Museum, Smith collected a great literary spoil from the already 
much-plundered mound of Kuyunjik. Unfortunately on his third 
expedition, in 1876, to make further excavations at Nineveh, he 
collapsed in health and died at Aleppo. 

The centre of gravity of interest now once more shifted to 
Babylonia. The French consul at Basrah, De Sarzec, turned Ms 
attention to the mound of Telloh, afterwards identified with the 
Babylonian city of Shirpurla, or Lagash, as the name is now gener- 
ally read. His success was astonishing. The famous sculptures and 
other relics of Gudea and other early Sumerian kings revealed a 
style of art hitherto unknown, told us of the unimagined greatness 
of these ancient and forgotten monarchs, opened an unsuspected 
chapter in the world's history, and, among other results of scarcely 
less importance, showed us primitive forms of the writing which 
developed into the cuneiform script. The Germans now entered 
the arena, hitherto occupied exclusively by France and Britain; 
and Moritz and Koldewey by their work at the sites of Surghul 
and el-Hibbah still further enlarged our knowledge of the Sumer- 
ian empire: this expedition began it work in 1887. In the follow- 
ing year America joined in, and the expedition to Nippur, begin- 


ning in 18885 and continued at intervals jfor many years, had rich 
results, the publication of which is still in progress. 

De Sarzec died in 1901, and two years later the French r once 
more attacked Telloh, greatly adding to the material already col- 
lected from that magnificent site. But during the present century 
the interest of these Babylonian sites has been to some extent 
eclipsed by the results of De Morgan's Persian mission, beginning 
with the first excavation at Susa in 1897-8, Such 'finds* as the 
great obelisk of Manishtusu, king of Kish, the 'Victory Stele* of 
Naram-Sin, with its most graphic and life-like reliefs, and above 
all the world-famous code of Hammurabi, one of the most striking 
archaeological discoveries ever made, have secured for the Susa 
expedition a place in the front rank of undertaking* of the kind 
from which it can never be dislodged. * 

Of later work in Babylonia and Assyria we may mention the 
further British Museum excavations at Kuyunjik by L. W. King 
and R. Campbell Thompson (19035), and those of Koldewey at 
Babylon, carried on continuously until the outbreak of war in 
1914. However in 1918 Thompson and Hall were able to resume 
excavation and among other discoveries at Abu Shahrein (Eridu) 
found indications of a presumably prehistoric occupation by some 
Elamite or related people. See further. Chap* x, pp* 373 



The unique interest of Syria and Palestine has made the surface 
of this region familiar to the pilgrims of many generations. But 
here also, as in the other countries considered in this chapter, 
scientific exploration begins in the nineteenth century. Seetzen in 
1801, and Burckhardt, who discovered the rock-city of Petra in 
1809, as well as Buckingham in 1821, may be said to have been 
the pioneers; these men penetrated, in the face of great difficulties, 
into recesses of the land till then unvisited. Costigan in 1835 first 
attempted to navigate the waters of the Dead Sea and to explore 
its mysterious shores. But he fell a victim to the deadly fevers of 
Jericho^ as did Molyneux in 1847, his successor in the same enter- 
prise, and also, many years afterwards, Tyrwhitt Drake, an officer 
of the Palestine Exploration Fund. The first man who endeavoured 
to make a reconnaissance of the whole country was Edward Robin- 
son, an American Congregationalist minister, whose studies ex- 
tended over the years from 1838 to 1852, and whose book, Bib- 
lical Researches in Palestine^ notwithstanding the primary exegeti- 
cal interest which the title expresses, marks an era in Palestinian 


geography. Robinson was followed by Tobler (18451866) and 
Guerin (1852 and following years), whose rich topographical col- 
lectlolis paved the way for the Ordnance Survey conducted under 
the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund. The admirable 
cartographic work of Van der Velde (18512) must not be for- 
gotten; and while his maps were superseded only by the Palestine 
Exploration Fund's survey, the wonderful photographic survey 
carried out under military auspices during the recent war marks a 
very great advance in this department. 

In Syria, which had been neglected in comparison with Pales- 
tine, and the thorough exploration of which Is still a geographical 
desideratum, good work was done in the middle of the nineteenth 
century by I>e Vogue and Waddington, by the former in studying 
the atfcient churches, and by both in collecting the Semitic and 
Greek inscriptions, which are so numeroiis in various parts of Syria, 
Valuable surveys were made in Phoenicia (1860) by Renan; and, 
in recent years, by an American expedition under H. C. Butler. 

The Palestine Exploration Fund, the first public body to devote 
itself exclusively to work in this region, was founded in London In 
1865. After some preliminary work of excavation in Jerusalem, 
it embarked in 1 8 70 on the Ordnance Survey above mentioned, 
under the direction of Conder and Tyrwhitt Drake. The latter 
was a young zoologist, but endowed with a marvellous capacity 
for acquiring languages. He had already accompanied the noted 
linguist, E. H. Palmer, in an adventurous march through the 
desert of the Tih, and seemed well fitted by his physical powers 
to take part in so laborious an enterprise as the survey. But he died 
shortly after the work began. His place was taken by a young 
lieutenant of engineers, afterwards to be famous as Lord Kitchener 
of Khartum. The maps, and the series of volumes accompanying 
them, containing name-lists, descriptions of fauna and flora, and 
brief sometimes too brief notices of the surface appearances 
of the various sites and mounds and fields of ruins scattered so 
richly over the country, are the basis of all later topographical 
work. It cannot be claimed that the work was as full as it might be, 
foT there are still plenty of gleanings left, even for an explorer who 
does not dig; and the knowledge since acquired on the subject of 
the chronology of pottery, as explained above (p. 1 14), reopens the 
question of many of the identifications of ancient sites proposed 
by the explorers. Still, these defects are mere sun-spots, and the 
work will always stand as a monument of industry and enthusiasm. 
Some later surveys, such as those of Schumacher and of Musil, in 
the land of Moab, may be noticed in passing* 



There is nothing to say in this section under the head $f de- 
cipherment, as all the inscriptions of Palestine and Syria are in 
known scripts and languages though the interpretation of many 
of them offers no little difficulty. The Hittitc hieroglyphs are 
treated in a later section. Of the inscriptions in which the mys- 
terious Philistines may have recorded their sentiments, and which, 
when they appear, may be expected to offer problems analogous 
to those of the hieroglyphic and cuneiform mysteries, none has as 
yet rewarded any excavator,, and the * speech of Ashdod ' still re- 
mains unknown* 


The excavations which have been carried on in the Holy Land, 
like those in Mesopotamia, have all been partial. Lack of funds, 
and the limitations imposed by the Turkish Imperial Permits, 
which required the work to be completed in two or at most three 
years, have hitherto prevented the attainment of the ideal of carry- 
ing out an excavation to the very end* The sites dug have been as 
follows; isolated spots in and around Jerusalem (Warren, 1867 
70); Tell el-Hesy, the ancient Lachish (Petrie and afterwards Bliss, 
1891-2); the Soxith Wall of Jerusalem (Bliss and Dickie, 1 894-7); 
Gath (?), Azekah (?), and Marissa (Bliss and R. A, S. Macalister, 
18991900); Gezer (Macalister, 19018); Beth-Shemesh (D. 
Mackenzie and F. G, Newton, 191012), Megiddo (Schumacher, 
1903 4);Taanach(Sellin, 19023); Jericho (Sellin and Watzinger, 
190910); Samaria (Lyon and Reissner, 190810). The above list 
down to Beth-Shemesh contains the sites dug for the Palestine 
Exploration Fund; Megiddo and Jericho were excavated under 
German auspices, Taanach under Austrian, and Samaria under 
American. Since the War excavation has been undertaken at 
other sites, such as Ashkclon (Garstang, 19202). 

The results which have rewarded this activity have been very 
different from those obtained by Egyptian and Mesopotamian ex- 
plorers. It is not in human nature for a Palestine explorer to r#ad 
without a feeling of envy of the rich epigraphic and artistic harvest 
gathered by his brethren in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Moabite 
Stone, found almost at the beginning of scientific excavation (in 
1868), is always before his eyes as a stimulus and encouragement; 
but so far that extraordinary monument stands alone, and many 
hundreds of tons of earth have to be removed before a find of 
really outstanding importance can be expected* 


The chief discoveries that have been made on Palestinian soil 
(including in the denomination Syria and the land across the 
Jordan) have not been numerous. In epigraphy, the stele of Mesha, 
commonly called the Moabite Stone, stands easily first as a monu- 
ment of unique importance. A long way behind comes the Siloam 
tunnel inscription, which tells us little of real historical value. This 
and the Gezer calendar, and the Samaria ostraca, are the only other 
specimens of pre-exilic Hebrew, apart from inscribed seals, etc., 
as yet discovered. These, while possessing some sociological and 
philological interest, are devoid of direct historical value. A few 
cuneiform inscriptions have come to light, e.g. in Lachish, a tablet 
belonging to the Tell el-Amarna series, two Gezer tablets of the 
period of the* Assyrian domination of Israel, and a few in Taanach. 
All trBe other important epigraphic discoveries in Palestine proper 
have been late inscriptions, a few in Hebrew (Jewish), but mostly 
in Greek, as for instance the minatory stele of Herod's Temple, 
discovered at Jerusalem by Clermont-Ganneau, and the taxation- 
tablet found in fragments at Beer-sheba. Across the Jordan, the 
most important monument, next to the Moabite stone, is the stele 
of Seti I, found at Tell esh-Shihab. This, perhaps, is the most con- 
venient place for referring to the Aramaean inscriptions of Zen- 
jirli, north of Aleppo, found in 18889, anc ^ relating to a small 
North Semitic kingdom of which it was the centre; as well as the 
funerary inscriptions of the Phoenician kings, Tabnith and Esh- 
munazar, and the dedicatory inscriptions cut upon the foundations 
of the Temple of Eshmun at Sidon. Other excavations and dis- 
coveries in North Syria will be mentioned in their place. 

Reference must also be made to the epigraphic discoveries that 
have been made in Arabia. This country lies outside the main 
stream of ancient history, and for this reason it would be superfluous 
to devote a special section of this chapter to the chequered history 
of its exploration, though it has an important place in the scenery 
of the background. Its climate, its difficulties of transit, its long 
stretches of barren lands, and the character of its population have 
made its topographical study a matter of no ordinary risk. The 
iit-fated expedition of Niebuhr (17614) began work which has 
been carried on through the nineteenth century by Burckhardt, 
Von Wrede, Burton, Wetzstein, Hal6vy, Hurgronje, Doughty, 
Huber, Glaser to name but a few of the taost important. Passing 
over the many contributions to geography and the various branches 
of anthropology and natural history which these explorers have 
made, we confine ourselves to mentioning the many inscriptions 
that have been copied, or c squeezed, y often at very serious per- 


sonal risk. These are for the greater part confined to the south of 
the peninsula., and fall into two series, an older, in the 'Minaean* 
dialect, and a later, the 'Sabaean' (see p. 188). They are ofc con- 
siderable historical and linguistic value, and throw much welcome 
light upon ancient Arabian religion. But some of those that are 
known still await publication, and those that have been published 
are not as yet fully elucidated. There are also, in northern Arabia, 
as well as in the Sinaitic peninsula, a large number of Nabataean 
inscriptions in an Aramaean dialect; although most of these are 
mere graffiti, several are grave-inscriptions and illustrate the re- 
ligious and social institutions. 

The artistic harvest from Syria and Palestine has if anything 
been still less than the epigraphic. The art is all, without exception, 
exotic, Babylon, Egypt, Crete and Cyprus, all in turn influence 
the native craftsman, who never by any chance turned out any- 
thing original, except unintentionally. That the magnates of Sidon 
could appreciate good art when they saw it is shown by the 
great 'Alexander* sarcophagus, a consummate masterpiece of 
classical Greek art: but they had to go abroad for it. The excava- 
tions in the country towns, above enumerated, have shown that 
the average standard of living was not much, if at all, higher than 
that of the fellahin of modern times. How far the excavation of a 
metropolis, such as Jerusalem, would tell a different tale it is im- 
possible to say, as the modern buildings effectually seal up the 
underlying soil from the excavator's pick. But this region takes 
its place as a mart or a centre of exchange rather than as an original 

Some of the discoveries that have been made in the region are 
of considerable importance from the point of view of religious and 
social conditions. Numerous figures of deities of no artistic merit 
come to light in every excavation. The High Place of Gezer 
and the terra-cotta altar of Taanach may be mentioned in this 
connexion as being of some importance for early Palestinian re- 
ligion. Though a description of Palestinian research has to be 
pitched in a lower key than an account of work in Egypt or in 
Mesopotamia, the resources of the region are by no means ex- 
hausted, and the light already thrown upon Palestinian life and 
thought affords some hint of the wealth of information that might 
be anticipated, were excavators able to dig their sites from end to 

Ill, v] THE HITTITES 135 


resuscitation of the long-forgotten Hittlte empire begins 
with the discovery by Jean Otter in 1736 of the famous relief at 
Ibriz in south Cappadocia. This was followed in 1812 by the 
discovery of one of the Hamath inscriptions by Burckhardt. Other 
finds of the same kind were made from time to time; but they were 
scattered, and no special notice was taken of them. The revival of 
interest begins with the rediscovery of the Hamath stone in 1 870, 
by J. A. Johnson, the American Consul-General in Syria, and the 
Rev* Dr Jessup, a Beirut Missionary: several others were found 
at the same time. In 1872 Richard Burton, in his Unexplored Syria y 
published tile first available transcript of the Hamath inscription, 
whicii, though not an exact copy, was enough to show that the 
writing was a hitherto unknown hieroglyphic script. In the same 
year Dr W. Wright, an Irish missionary at Damascus, with the 
co-operation of the Turkish governor, procured the transmission of 
the Hamath stones to the Constantinople Museum, and sent home 
to London two sets of plaster casts; and the British Museum also 
secured a number of inscriptions from Jerabls, the ancient Car- 
chemish. Wright seems to have been the first to suggest that in 
these writings we were to see monuments of the people known in 
the Bible as Hittites a people sufficiently great to command the 
respect and fear of the Egyptians, and who also occupy a promi- 
nent position in the contemporary cuneiform records. This sugges- 
tion is now generally accepted. In 1884 Wright collected every- 
thing till then known of the Hittites in his book, The Empire of the 
HittiteSy with valuable facsimiles of all the inscriptions that had 
come to light, and with a first attempt at decipherment by Pro- 
fessor Sayce, to whose persistence and ingenuity Hittite studies 
have been greatly indebted. 

Since Wright's publication a considerable amount of material 
has accumulated, especially as the result of two important excava- 
tions that of Winckler at Boghaz Keui, and that of the British 
Museum at Carchemish by Hogarth, Campbell Thompson, Law- 
p^nce and Woolley. The civilization called * Hittite' extended over 
north Syria and the greater part of Asia Minor; almost everywhere 
in that great area are to be found sculptures, at least as bold and 
as lifelike as the reliefs of the Assyrian palaces, and inscriptions. In 
spite of heroic attempts, however, the hieroglyphs of the Hittites 
have not yet been deciphered. The numerous cuneiform inscrip- 
tions which Boghaz Keui has yielded have thrown much light upon 
this people; on these see Vol. u, Chap. xi 



Of all the discoveries In archaeology that the nineteenth cerftury 
has witnessed, perhaps the most extraordinary is that of the great 
Bronze Age Empire which centred in the Island of Crete. 

The foundations of this discovery were laid by Heinrich Schlie- 
mann, whose romantic story has been told by himself, with a char- 
acteristic naivete^ in his book Ilios. He relates how he raised him- 
self from the poverty of his youthful surroundings to wealth, with 
the single purpose before him of carrying out an ambition, formed 
in childhood, to excavate Troy. The first sod was turned at Hissar- 
lik, the site of this city, in April, 1870, when the explorer was In 
his forty-eighth year. This was merely in the nature orf a prelimi- 
nary trial; it immediately became clear that the work would ifeces- 
sarlly be so extensive that authority from the Porte to prosecute 
the research would be imperative. The permit was not granted till 
the autumn of 1871, after which, in the face of many difficulties, 
partly climatic, partly imposed by Turkish officialdom, S chile- 
mann continued at work until the following year* In 1872 he un- 
earthed the great treasure of gold and silver, which In his first 
publication he named 'the Treasure of Priam/ This name is an 
indication of the spirit in which Schliemann worked. He had a 
child-like faith in the Homeric poems. He was in search of the 
heroes of the Iliad\ and his work as a whole, it must be frankly 
admitted, cannot be altogether exempted from the strictures which, 
as we saw earlier in this chapter, an idee fixe of such a kind almost 
inevitably incurs. We can however pardon Schlieinann, for in the 
seventies of the last century excavation had not become a science; 
indeed, he was one of the pioneers whose labours established it as 
such. We now know that he was wholly wrong in his Identification 
of the Homeric Troy, which he supposed to be the second of the 
series of nine superposed cities buried In the mound of HIssarllk, 
It was, In fact, the sixth, which belonged to the time to which the 
Trojan war is assigned, as was proved afterwards by the excava- 
tions of Dr Dorpfeld (1892). Thus Schliemann, by a too eager 
, haste, actually destroyed part of what he was in search of, sine* 
to reach the second city he had to cut through all the superposed 
layers. This, however, he could not have been expected to know: 
such knowledge has been attained gradually, by the patient study 
of many stratified sites, and by a minute investigation of the mor- 
phological evolution of pottery and other classes of antiquities 
capable of seriation. 

The treasure of Priam, * though a great discovery, was of 


mixed advantage for the excavator. The removal of so much bullion 
from Turkish soil aroused the indignation of the Ottoman Govern- 
merit, involved Schliemann in a tedious and expensive law-suit, 
and made it a difficult matter for him ever again to obtain per- 
mission to excavate within Ottoman dominions. He accordingly- 
turned his attention to Mycenae, where, in 1876 (after a brief 
return,, under a new permit, to Troy) he discovered the marvellous 
treasures of the shaft-graves, which have enriched the Athens 
Museum with the most wonderful collection of ancient gold ob- 
jects in the world. 

A short visit to Ithaca followed, where an excavation revealed 
the remains of an ancient settlement. In 1878 work was once more 
resumed atTroy, continuing at intervals till 1883, when Schlie- 
manit finally left the site. In the latter years his labours there were 
shared, greatly to their advantage, by specialists in anthropology 
like Virchow, in archaeology and architecture like Dorpfeld, and 
in literary scholarship like Burnouf. The * finds/ with the excep- 
tion of the proportion handed over to the Ottoman empire, were 
presented to the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. 

The fine beehive tomb, popularly called the ' Treasury of Min- 
yas/ at Orchomenus occupied Schliemann's attention in 1880, 
the Mound of Marathon early in 1884; later in the same year he 
uncovered the foundation of the great palace of Tiryns, from many 
points of view one of the most important of his discoveries. In the 
later years of his life he resumed, with the collaboration of Dorp- 
feld, patient work at Troy, He had just found the sixth or 
Homeric city, when at the end of 1 890 he died suddenly at Naples. 
The results of Schliemann's work were far different, atzd far 
greater, than those which he had anticipated when he turned the 
first sod at Hissarlik. He went, as we have said, in search of the 
heroes of Homer; and indeed he believed, not without reason, 
that he had found them, when he broke into the shaft-graves at 
Mycenae, with their amazing wealth of golden treasure. But what 
he really found, though he himself never fully realized it, was a 
mighty Empire, that had passed altogether into legend. Even the 
Hittites still lived in the contemporary records of Egypt and 
Mesopotamia; but all that remained of the empire of the Aegean 
were the fairy-tales as they seemed to be of Minos and the 
Labyrinth, the Minotaur, Daedalus, Theseus, and Ariadne, ._, 

These excavations revealed the existence of an art previously 
unknown, totally different from the Greek art of classical times. 
It became immediately a problem of momentous importance to 
determine the origin and the affinities of this new art. Much of it 


was obviously conventionalized, and therefore derived from some 
as yet undiscovered naturalistic art: where, then, was th f e proto- 
type to be sought? Various answers to this question mot of 
them best forgotten were put forward: the least unreasonable 
theory was that the art was Egyptian in origin, and had been 
carried by Phoenician mariners to the islands and shores of the 
Aegean. Schliemann himself looked towards Crete. 

The credit of pointing the way to the true solution,, and after- 
wards of practically demonstrating its correctness, belongs to Sir 
Arthur Evans. His attention was directed to Crete by the exami- 
nation of a series of remarkable seals which came Into his hands., 
bearing upon them figures in which he recognized a previously 
unknown form of picture-writing. In 1896, in a Presidential ad- 
dress to the Anthropological Section of the British Association, in 
session at Liverpool, he put forward the Cretan hypothesis, ending 
his address with these words, in reference to the struggle for 
political independence at the time in progress: 'To Crete the 
earliest Greek tradition looks back as the home of divinely-inspired 
legislation and the first centre of maritime dominion. Inhabited 
since the days of the first Greek settlement by the same race, 
speaking the same language, and moved by the same independent 
impulses, Crete stands forth again to-day as the champion of the 
European spirit against the yoke of Asia/ 

Nearly in the centre of the north side of Crete is the site of the 
palace of Cnossus. Some desultory digging in 1878 had shown 
that it contained antiquities, Schliemann in 1887 endeavoured in 
vain to obtain permission to excavate the site, a task which it was 
the good fortune of Sir Arthur Evans to accomplish. The results 
of this investigation have completely revolutionized our know- 
ledge of the ancient history of the Near East, We now know that 
roughly between 2250 and 1200 B.C. the island of Crete was the 
centre of a maritime empire, which extended its influence, in 
politics and in culture, over the Aegean islands and mainland 
shore, and which, though not using iron a metal the working of 
which was not as yet introduced into Europe practised a natural- 
istic art of the highest merit, and enjoyed a civilization in many 
respects more 'modern* in its comforts than any other of the 
ancient world. The Palace of Cnossus, with its innumerable cham- 
bers and passages, and with its frescoes of bulls, is the tangible 
historic basis of the tales of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, We 
have been admitted to the throne-room of king Minos, and we 
may even sit upon his royal seat. We can turn over the tablets 
upon which his stewards recorded the household accounts and in- 


ventories, though, as yet we may not pry Into their secrets. And in 
the beautiful painted ware that graced his halls we may at last 
see the long-sought origin of the art with which in its later, con- 
ventionalized, form, Schliemann at Mycenae had startled the 
world of scholars of his generation. 

The archaeological yield of the Palace of Cnossus was brilliantly 
supplemented by that at other palaces excavated at the same time 
Phaestus and Hagia Triada by the Italian expedition under 
Halbherr, Pernier, Savignoni and Paribeni, and in E. Crete by 
Miss Harriet Boyd (Mrs Hawes) and by Seager. From the results 
of this work the chronology of the c Minoan ? periods, as Sir Arthur 
Evans has named them, has been determined. The great chrono- 
logical importance of pottery was nowhere so fully demonstrated: 
the Scale constructed by Evans and his lieutenant, Dr Duncan 
Mackenzie, has proved a guide to the dating of the results of all 
research in the pre-classical antiquities of the Eastern Mediter- 

Other excavations may be passed over with a bare mention, 
space not permitting more, though they cannot be left wholly 
without notice. Such are Palaikastro in Crete, a city with im- 
portant tombs, excavated by the British School at Athens; in the 
Cyclades, the scene of Tsountas* patient and fruitful researches, 
Phylakopi in Melos (the centre of the obsidian trade), excavated 
by the British School at Athens; and the French and German 
excavations of Thera. On the mainland of Greece, besides the 
excavations of Schliemann, already mentioned, we may refer to 
Tsountas' long campaigns at Mycenae and brilliant success at 
Vaphio; Dorpfeld's opening of cupola tombs at Kakovatos in 
Triphylia (Elis), identified with the Pylos of Nestor; the tombs of 
Spata and Aphidna in Attica; the excavations of Keramopoulos on 
the site of Thebes ; and of Soteriadis around Chaeronea, which 
have considerably extended our knowledge of ancient pottery. The 
French excavations of Delphi have revealed pre-classical remains; 
and those of Tsountas, especially at Dimini and at Sesklo, and of 
Wace and Thompson in Thessaly, have advanced our knowledge 
*f the early civilization of that region. 

The nine periods into which the history of Bronze-Age civiliza- 
tion in Crete and the area under its influence have been divided, 
chiefly through the evidence of pottery, are as follows: their char- 
acteristics are here stated as briefly as possible. 

Early Minoan /(immediately overlying the thick neolithic layer 
under the site of Cnossus, and continuous with it). Black lucchero 
ware, of similar appearance to the neolithic pottery, but differing 


in the technique of the ornamentation. In the neolithic pottery 
this consists of geometrical devices, 'encrusted,' i.e. inciSed and 
filled in with gypsum : in the Early Minoan pottery it is applied 
in colour, either light-tinted on a black ground, or mce versa. 
Similar pottery found in Egyptian first-dynasty tombs. 

Early Minoan II (Ossuary at Hagia Triada, Vasiliki pottery, 
Hagios Onuphrios). Pottery similar to preceding, but showing a 
higher class of workmanship. Beginning of spiral and other cur- 
vilinear decoration. Copper triangular daggers. Rude idol figures. 
Conical seals of marble, ivory, and soft stones. Appearance of vases 
with long spouts (Schnabelkanneri). 

Early Minoan III (Hagios Onuphrlos, later deposits at Hagia 
Triada, Geometrical Pottery of Gournia, Cyclades, Bkissarlik city 
II, Phylakopi city I). Schnabelkannen with shortened spouts; inore 
elaborate decoration of pottery; beginning of polychrome decora- 
tion. Recrudescence of neolithic incised and dotted decoration. 
Cycladic types of 'fiddle-shaped' idol-figures (*Amorgos* type). 
Spiral decoration developed. Beginning of writing (pictographs on 
seals). This period terminates with Egyptian Dynasty XL 

Middle Minoan /(beginning of greatness of Cnossus). A notable 
advance in civilization and art. Polychrome decoration of pottery; 
geometrical patterns continued and developed, but first appear- 
ance of naturalistic forms (animal figures painted on ware). Elabor- 
ate ruffed figures of PetsofL Seals with hieroglyphic figures. 

Middle Minoan II (first palace of Cnossus destroyed at the end 
of this period. Palace of Phaestus). Kamares pottery with poly- 
chrome decoration of the highest merit. Seals with hieroglyphic 
signs. Contemporary with Egyptian Dynasty XI L 

Middle Minoan ///(later palace of Cnossus). Pottery decoration 
decadent: naturalistic forms now reach their highest point. Great 
palace frescoes. Beginning of the linear script. Daggers, which 
have been hitherto the chief metal weapon, begin to develop into 
swords. Contemporary with Egyptian Dynasties XIII XVTL 

Late Minoan /(Acropolis of Mycenae, Palace of Hagia Triada), 
Pottery similar to preceding period, except for the technical differ- 
ence that whereas the artists of the former period preferred lightly" 
coloured designs of a dark ground, those of thp latter period re- 
verse the effect* Linear writing freely used during this period* 
Art still naturalistic. 

Late Minoan II (great vases of the t Palace' style: end of 
Cnossus), Conventionalization in art grows; architectonic decora- 
tion in pottery noticeable (devices arranged, as it were. In friezes 
divided into groups suggestive of the alternation of metopes and 


triglyphs). The 'Stirrup-vases' (Bugelkannetf) which began to ap- 
pear at'Hagia Triada in the preceding period are in use, though 
still *rare. Linear script; many tablets. Contemporary with Egyp- 
tian Dynasty XVIIL 

Late Minoan III (period of general diffusion of style formerly 
called 'Mycenean'), Art stereotyped into conventional forms, in 
themselves pleasing, but poor when set beside the prototypes from 
which they have degenerated. Stirrup-vases common and char- 
acteristic. Fine and long swords^ and excellent works of art in gold 
and ivory. 

During the time of the Minoan civilization In the Aegean area, 
Thessaly offered a barrier between this region and central Europe. 
The neolitkic culture long persisted in Thessaly; the Early and 
Midltile Minoan art of Crete and the Cyclades made no impression 
there, even though the existence of trade with the latter islands is 
suggested by numerous implements of obsidian. It is not till we 
reach the Late Minoan or Mycenaean stage that Thessaly yields 
to Aegean influences. 

The First Thessalian period 5 the chronology of which in relation 
to the Minoan periods is not yet certainly established, is neolithic. 
Tools are found in polished stone 5 flint and obsidian, as well as 
rude idol-figures : the latter are of a type wholly different from 
those of the Cyclades. The pottery of this period is well made: it 
is either red monochrome, with thin walls, or else is covered with 
a white slip bearing designs in red or reddish brown (geometrical 
and conventionalized floral patterns). 

The Second period is likewise neolithic, and on the whole re- 
sembles the first, differing only in detaiL The idol-figures are per- 
haps less gross in type. The pottery shows a foreign influence of 
some not certainly determined origin (the Dimini ware): it is 
gracefully decorated with spirals or straight lines. 

The Third period, in which metal (copper) first begins to be 
used, shows otherwise a decadence. The pottery becomes coarse, 
and the painted decoration disappears. There are remarkable idol- 
figures in this period, consisting of a marble head with a spike, 
*which is intended to fit into a crudely modelled clay body* 

The Fourth period is the beginning of the Age of Bronze in 
Thessaly. The pottery is crude, grey or black monochrome. 

After this there follows directly the art of Late Minoan III, 
which thus gives a minor limit of date for the earlier periods. 

The recent work of Wace and Blegen, founded upon a number 
of excavations in the Peloponnesus and elsewhere, has done much 
to establish a similar series of evolutionary periods on the main- 


land of Greece, To these have been given the names Early, Middle 
and Late Helladic. The character of their pottery, and t&eir ap- 
proximate synchronism with the Minoan periods, are as follows : 

Early Helladic I (= Early Minoan I, II). Bowls of hand-made 
monochrome ware, black, red, or buff, sometimes decorated with 
incised patterns; jugs and other vessels, hand-made, with red, buff 
or grey slip. 

Early Helladic II (= Early Minoan II, III). Vases wholly or 
partly covered with a glaze paint. These last in use till the time of 
Middle Minoan I. 

Early Helladic III (= Early Minoan III, Middle Minoan I). 
Vases with a zone of geometrical or basket-work decoration sur- 
rounding the body; the surface may otherwise be left plain, or 
else covered with a light glaze paint, the decoration in such a 'case 
being in dark lines. A variant shows a light coloured decoration 
on a dark glaze background. 

Middle Helladic (= Middle Minoan II, III). A wheel-made, 
metallic-looking ware, of the type commonly called Minyan^ first 
found by Schliemann at Orchomenus. In the earlier phases of this 
period this ware is of a grey colour, but later it is yellowish-buff. 
Another new type is introduced in the Middle Helladic, namely 
jugs and other vessels with linear devices in matt colours at first 
hand-made 3 afterwards wheel-made. This type of pottery gradu- 
ally improves in technique as time goes on, three stages of develop- 
ment being recognized, The first of these belongs to the first 
phase of the Middle Helladic, the second and third to later phases. 
The period of the shaft-graves at Mycenae begins at the end of 
the Middle Helladic. 

Late Helladic or "Mycenaean (= Late Minoan I ? II, III). This 
period includes the whole of the great history of Argolis and 
Boeotia, from the shaft-tombs at Mycenae down to the time of the 
general diffusion over the Aegean area of the Mycenaean types of 
pottery. See also below. Chap, iv, pp. 174 sqq.\ and Chap, xvu, 


In conclusion we may give some particulars as to the antiquities 
of this important island. 

Excavations have been comparatively few, and some of them 
have been lamentably unscientific. Indeed, it has not been without 
very considerable difficulty that any order has been evolved from 
the chaos into which the archaeological history of Cyprus has been 
thrown by native and foreign tomb-plunderers. On the other hand, 


there have been excavations of a high order of importance, such 
as those*of Hagia Parasceve, an important cemetery of the copper 
and bronze ages (Ohnefalsch-Richter); Kalopsida and Laksa 
(Myres); and Curium, Enkorni, and Amathis (Murray, for the 
British Museum). 

Cyprus was famous from very early times for the copper-mines 
which have given the island its name. It maintained in consequence 
commercial relations with Mesopotamia,, Syria, Crete and Egypt. 
Letters from Cyprus figure in the Tell el-Amarna correspondence 
(if the identification with Alashia be accepted), and numerous ob- 
jects of foreign origin have been found in Cypriote graves. The 
island is, in fact, a sort of clearing-house of ancient culture, and 
its deposits fchus present associations of objects of the highest value 
for chronological purposes. 

The neolithic stage of civilization is not well represented, Very 
few implements of polished stone have been found on the island. 
It gives place to the Copper Age at about 3000 B.C. This lasts till, 
roughly, 2200 B.C., as Babylonian cylinders, found in the tombs of 
the period, inform us : these cylinders are witnesses to trade, not, 
as was formerly supposed, to a Babylonian domination. The 
Bronze Age in the island may be divided into two periods, dated 
in round numbers 22001550, and 155011-00 B.C. respectively. 
The Copper Age, and the two bronze periods, correspond each 
in its turn to the Early, Middle and Late Minoan periods of the 
Cretan area, though It is not till the last-named epoch that we find 
much evidence of communication between Cyprus and the centres 
of the Aegean culture. 

The metal-work of the bronze periods shows no small degree of 
skill on the part of the craftsman. True, it is clumsy in comparison 
with the finest work of the Cretan artists, but it Is often decorated 
with no little skill and taste. The pottery of the Copper Age Is 
covered with a brilliantly-burnished slip, decorated with geo- 
metrical patterns Incised or in relief not painted. Especially 
characteristic of all periods of Cypriote culture are globular jugs 
with long cylindrical necks, sometimes set crookedly. In the bronze 
periods a light-coloured slip is used, sometimes 5 Indeed, of a milk- 
white colour, with geometrical patterns in dark sepia, usually frets 
and ladder-like patterns. This type of ware (hemispherical bows 
and jugs) has a wide range of Influence, having been freely ex- 
ported to Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere. At Enkomi were found 
rich deposits of ornament In gold and ivory, as well as fine ex- 
amples of coloured ware, of Late Minoan types. 

Especially noteworthy in connexion with Cyprus is its posses- 


sion of a system of writing. This is a syllabary, each character de- 
noting a vowel, or else a consonant followed by a vowel. We owe 
Its first decipherment to the insight of George Smith, the? dis- 
coverer of the Deluge Tablet (p. 129). Many of the inscriptions 
are in Greek; but it is quite obvious that the syllabary cannot have 
been originally designed for rendering Greek words. To these it 
Is a very bad misfit; they have indeed, to be distorted almost out 
of recognition to be expressed in the Cypriote syllabary at all 
For example,, an inscription discovered at Tamassus begins with 
the words rov dv$pidvTav rwSe (?) eSa/cei/, which appear as 
to-na-ti-ri-a-ta-ne-to-te ( T)-e-to-ke-ne. There are other inscriptions 
written in this character the language of which is unknown, and 
presumably it is to this latter tongue that the script properly be- 
longs. The origin of the Cypriote syllabary is as yet nothing4nore 
than a matter of speculation ; it is natural to connect it with the 
Cretan linear writing on the one hand, or with the Hittite hiero- 
glyphs on the other and indeed, efforts have been made to deter- 
mine phonetic values for certain of the Hittite characters on the 
basis of the undeniable similarity which they present to Cypriote 
signs. But such theories must for the present be regarded as tenta- 
tive and uncertain. 

Even a moderately complete history of the archaeological 
researches, that have been carried out during the past hundred 
years in the regions with which we have been dealing, would 
more than fill this entire volume. There is indeed, we might 
almost say, an element of grotesqueness in an endeavour to 
compress the story into some thirty pages. Only the barest out- 
lines, with a slight emphasis on the more important details, can 
be attempted in a space so restricted. Moreover, even the fullest 
history must necessarily be incomplete. Knowledge grows from 
day to day, even from hour to hour. As we write, researches are 
being carried out In more centres than one which might revolu- 
tionize knowledge of the ancient history of the Near East, and 
give the historians of the future surprises as unexpected as those 
that have been their lot in the present age. 


the Bible three eras gained currency at an early 
date, namely, those of the first Olympiad (776 B.C.), the 
foundation of Rome (753 B.C.), and the establishment of the Se- 
leucid power in Syria and Mesopotamia (312 B.C.). The last of 
these long continued in use, even by the side of the Mohammedan 
era (622 A.D.), and survived among the Jews until about the 
fifteenth century. By means of these and other less familiar eras it 
became possible to synchronize 'biblical* and * profane* history; 
and the earliest efforts to form a single scheme of universal history 
may be said to begin in the third century A.D,, when Julius Afri- 
canus, in the first Christian history of the world, combined biblical 
and other data in one comprehensive scheme. He reckoned 5500 
years from the Creation of the world to the birth of Christ, and in 
the person of Peleg (Gen. x, 25) found a partition of the world 
(see p. 1 85 jy.). He was followed by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, 
who succeeded in subordinating all his eras and dates to an era of 
Abraham (corresponding to 2017 B.C.). The work of the 'Father 
of Church History* thus gives him an honourable place among 
those who have sought, and with increasing success, to construct 
an absolute chronology of history. 

The necessity of some method of reckoning time was naturally 
felt from an early age. On the other hand, the interest in preserving 
and arranging records of the past has not been so widespread. Only 
after a long development did the desire to record the dates of 
business dealings and of political and other occurrences give rise 
to a variety of devices which were gradually made more consistent 
and trustworthy. Only at a relatively late date were there efforts 
to synchronize different systems, and, finally, to attempt to sub- 
ordinate them to national or to universal history. But, unfortun- 
ately, the most important of the more detailed of the accessible 
sources seems to have been already imperfect and inconsistent; 
and when, for example, Eusebius endeavoured to arrange his 
biblical and other material, in order to exhibit a comparative table 
of past kings and events, he was obliged to submit the numbers 
contained in the Bible to a candid criticism, the necessity of which 
has also been recognized by every succeeding historian. 

C.A.H- 1 *Q 


In more modern times the vast and increasing accumulation of 
ancient historical and archaeological material lias solved some 
serious problems, but has brought many new ones. The tas^ of 
writing the history of the past has been rendered difficult, partly 
by the obscurity or ambiguity even of old and often more or less 
contemporary evidence, partly by the greater strictness of modern 
historical methods, and partly, also, by the fact that long before the 
time of Eusebius scribes and historians had frequently employed 
a sort of criticism of their own and have left us results which we 
are unable to control. Consequently, the modern historian often 
cannot do more than balance the probabilities; and conflicting 
conclusions are unavoidable, on account of the difficulty of decid- 
ing between conflicting sources, each apparently valid, and of 
determining the meaning or worth of historical references or-allu- 
sions. Further, from time to time new discoveries are made which 
force some revision of historical and chronological conclusions. 

From Eusebius to Ussher whose chronological scheme found 
its way into the margin of the Old Testament and thus gained 
widespread currency in the English-speaking world and from 
Ussher to the present day, solid progress has been made in deter- 
mining an absolute chronology. Still, as regards the Ancient East, 
finality is far from attained, and in every department there are 
characteristic fundamental problems which have to be considered 
by themselves and in relation to the other departments. The 
chronology of Syria and Palestine is bound up with that of the 
Old Testament and of the surrounding Empires. The Old Testa- 
ment is the most ancient of continuous historical writings, and in 
the past its chronology has invariably been of the first importance 
for universal history. But it is relatively young compared with the 
records of Egypt and Mesopotamia; and its chronology can be 
fixed only through that of Mesopotamia which is also essential for 
fixing the chronology of Egypt. With the chronology of Egypt is 
connected, to a certain extent, that of prehistoric Greece; and the 
evidence of both Egypt and prehistoric Greece is indispensable 
for dating the archaeological development of Syria and Palestine. 
All the chronological problems are therefore interrelated to #> 
greater or less degree, and it will be convenient to summarize 
them separately, beginning with those of Mesopotamia, 



Mesopotamia (Babylonia and Assyria) and Egypt together laid 
the foundations of our modern systems of reckoning time and of 
computing the intervals between events. If, in some respects, the 
Egyptians were more accurate, the men of Mesopotamia paid 
more attention to chronology, and to them are due the division 
into years, months and weeks (the designation of the seven days 
of the week after certain deities is later), the subdivision of the 
day into twelve double hours, and the sexagesimal system. Their 
astronomical, or rather their astrological, observations go back to 
a very remote date, and, as the year was a lunar one, it was neces- 
sary to introduce from time to time intercalary months so that it 
migRt correspond to the solar year (p. 461)* A letter of the 
famous king Hammurabi (c, 2100 B.C.) of the First Babylonian 
Dynasty to a governor at Larsa informs him that * the year has a 
deficiency,* and that the current month was, accordingly, to be 
registered as the Second EluL Mention is also made in this period 
of a Second Nisan and a Second Adar. 

Later, in the period of the Assyrian Empire, the astronomers 
sent numerous reports to the king, who officially regulated the 
calendar and gave instructions for the insertion of the necessary 
intercalary month. Watch was kept for the appearance of the new 
moon; and in Palestine, even as late as the Christian era, the be- 
ginning of the month was fixed by personal observation on the 
part of appointed officials. No doubt the Mesopotamian kings 
were advised by the temple astrologers and other officials, who 
would foretell the duration of the month and the next new moon; 
and since contracts and other business tablets were commonly 
dated and preserved in the local temple, some locally authoritative 
calculation of time would arise in connexion with the temples. 

At first each year was named after some more or less noteworthy 
event. The practice is natural in itself; and modern examples have 
been found, for example, among the Dacotas, where the events are 
at first often of ritual interest. On the Mesopotamian tablets the 
year-names refer to the building of a temple, the performance of 
some religious ceremony, the capture of a city, and so forth; the 
predominance of ritual events clearly betrays the influence of the 
temple. The system had many inconveniences. Sometimes the 
year was called *the year after' the name of the preceding, or it 
was named from an event as yet unfinished or nearing completion. 
Two or more years might be named after the same event, or 
different localities would give each its own name to the same year, 

I0 a 


so that one year might have several names. Among the Sumerians 
Ur-Engur (c twenty-fifth century) fixed a single system of reckon- 
ing in place of the various local systems; but the local scribes would 
often add the name of their priest-king (jpates?) to the authoritative 
year-name, and this jealous regard for local rights finds a much 
later parallel in the many local city eras of the Greek and Roman 

The ceremonial naming of the year probably took place at the 
beginning of the year at the New Year's Feast on the First of 
Nisan. It was then that the gods were believed to meet to decide 
the fate in other words, the history of the coming year, and the 
Babylonian king grasped the hands of the temple gods as a sign 
of his divine appointment. When the name was fixed, presumably 
after consultation with the temple officials, it was sent round* the 
country, usually being abbreviated in the process. The first two 
years of Hammurabi are called: 'the year in which H. became 
king' and 'the year in which H., the king, established the heart 
of the land in righteousness.' His thirty-first year was *the year 
in which H., the king, after that he with the assistance of Anu 
and Enlil, marching at the head of his troops, the land of Yamut- 
bal and its king Rim-Sin had brought under his power/ By associ- 
ating the name of each year with the reigning king a certain degree 
of method was introduced; and about the same period we find 
that the capture of Isin was used as an era (p. 486). But it was not 
until the Kassite period (c* 1746), that the simple plan of dating 
by the years of the reigning king was definitely adopted, although 
it had been in use before the time of Sargon (pp. 390, 419). 
Here the first year begins with the First of Nisan after the king's 
accession, and the preceding year, the year in which his predecessor 
died, is the year in which A died or B entered his father's house. 

Among the Assyrians the limmu lists form the starting-point of 
positive chronology. They enumerate the various officials who 
gave their names each to his year of office; and they sometimes 
also add brief references to events of political and other import- 
ance. The year of each official is the limmu (or limu\ the *epony- 
mate/ and events are in the limmu of so-and-so. The practice re^ 
calls the Greek method of dating events by the local archons of 
Athens, the Spartan ephors, or the Argive priestesses of Hera. 
But there is this interesting peculiarity, that the names of the 
Assyrian officials begin with that of the king and are in rota from 
the higher officials to the lower, followed by governors of the old 
cities, and with the later addition of cities and provinces subse- 
quently acquired. Each in turn names the year, the king leading, 


until with the accession of a new king there is a fresh beginning, 
althoifgh sometimes the rota is continued irrespective of the break. 
Tine institution of the Kmmu is found even in the old Assyrian 
tablets from Cappadocia (p. 455)., and the practice of designating 
the year after sacerdotal and other officials was known earlier in 
Shuruppak and Lagash (pp. 378, 384 sg.\ The Assyrian method 
looks like a compromise between rival class and local interests; it 
shows the significance once attached to the honour of naming the 
year, and seems to point to a republican rather than a monarchical 
or sacerdotal origin. 

In order to fix events dated by the limmu^ lists of the eponyms 
are needed; and in fact the Canon or Eponym lists have proved as 
valuable a& the catalogues of the Greek archons or the Consular 
Fasti of the Romans. Those as yet found extend apart from 
fragments from 893 to 666, that is, from the reign of the As- 
Syrian king Adad-nirari II (911890) to that of Ashurbanipal 
(669625). Among the events mentioned is one in the ninth year 
of Ashur-dan, in the eponymate of Bur-sagale of the city of Gozan ; 
c a revolt in the city of Ashur; in the month of Sivan an eclipse of 
the sun took place/ It is now agreed that the latter observation Is 
to be identified with the total solar eclipse of 15 June, 763, visible 
at Nineveh, and from this it Is easy to determine all the dates in 
the Assyrian Canon and to co-ordinate both dates and events with 
what is known from other tablets of Assyrian history and from the 
relations with Babylonia and other countries. In addition to this, 
the lower part of these lists can be co-ordinated with 'Ptolemy's 
Canon of Kings/ that is, the list of Babylonian, Persian, Greek 
and Roman kings with the length of their reigns, and a record of 
eclipses, compiled by the Egyptian, Claudius Ptolemaeus, In the 
second century A.D. This list can be independently verified and 
shown to date from Nabonassar (747), to whose age later astro- 
logical theory ascribed the beginning of a new period. Ptolemy's 
dates are reckoned after the Egyptian year; and, as the first year 
of a king is calculated in the Babylonian style, short reigns which 
did not extend to the First of Nisan are ignored. Although the 
royal names are rather deformed, it is possible to connect Ptolemy's 
Canon with the Assyrian lists, and in this manner all the dates can 
be fixed as far back as the beginning of Adad-nirari's reign. , 

The foundations of Mesopotamlan chronology having thus been 
laid, It remains to determine further details from the numerous 
contract tablets, historical Inscriptions, chronicles, and the like. 
Among the records of Babylonia and Assyria the most valuable 
have been the synchronous chronicles, one of which deals with 


the Interrelations between the two countries, from the middle 
of the sixteenth to the end of the ninth century. Lists of kings 
and dynasties were compiled by scribes at various periods, and of 
these one of the most important comprises a list of the Babylonian 
kings down to the seventh century B.C. The most remarkable of 
ancient lists is as early as the twenty-second century B.C. (see 
below, pp. 152, 365), and the persistence of elaborate lists is 
proved by the * Canons' preserved by later classical writers, the 
best-known being that which claims to be due in the first instance 
to the Babylonian priest Berosus. 

Even in the earliest lists mistakes could easily arise, e.g. the 
alternative names for the same year could be counted as separate 
years; indeed, on closer inspection we often find discrepancies, 
misunderstandings and exaggerations. In addition to the acfcual 
contents of inscribed tablets, useful hints can also be obtained 
from a study of their palaeography, terminology and material. 
Attention is also to be paid to the strata in which they are dis- 
covered and their relation to other strata; and in this way the 
archaeological evidence may be used, sometimes to suggest a date 
for otherwise undated events, or to supplement, check, or revise 
dates obtained by other means. Striking examples of the inde- 
pendent value of the archaeological argument are afforded in the 
case of the date of Sargon I in Babylonia, and of the duration of 
the Hyksos invasion in Egypt (pp. 156, 169, 233)* 

Of the lists preserved by classical writers, most importance is 
commonly attached to that of Berosus, a priest of the god Bel at 
Babylon, who dedicated to his patron Antiochus I Soter (280 
261), an elaborate work upon Babylonian or Chaldean history in 
three parts. Of this fragments alone remain, quoted at second- 
hand by Josephus, Eusebius and others. These include lists of 

(I) ten antediluvian kings from Alorus to the hero of the Deluge, 
reigning, in all, 120 sars, i.e. 432,000 years (a sar is 3600 years); 

(II) the kings from the Flood onwards; and (III) a narrative of 
events from Nabonassar to Alexander the Great. In the second 
part six dynasties or divisions are specified: (a) 86 kings, total 
34,080 years; (ff) 8 Median usurpers, 224 years (according to*- 
another reading 34); (c) n kings of unknown length (according 
to a marginal reading 48 years); (/) 49 Chaldeans, 458 years; 
(e) 9 Arabians, 245* years; and (/) 45 kings, 526 years. 

As the lists of Berosus are presumably based upon earlier 
material, it is necessary to consider their value and ascertain, if 
possible, what underlies his remarkable scheme. It is well known 
that curious theories arose in the Greek and later ages concerning 


vast world-periods or world-cycles, and one of these in particular 
populated the notion of a cycle 0^36,525 years, that is, 25 times 
the Sothic period of 1461 (1460) years (see p. 168). On the other 
hand, it is now generally supposed that, as Berosus reckoned by 
sars of 3600 years in the first part, he probably arranged the 
second in a cycle of 10 sars, i.e. 363000 years. Consequently, if we 
deduct the exaggerated figures in (a), the remainder, it is presumed, 
may be accepted as the figures for those kings whom we may re- 
gard as historical. From 36,000, if we deduct 34,080 (the figure 
quoted by Syncellus) or 34,091 (assuming that 33,091, as cited 
by Eusebius, is a slip) there are 1920 or 1909 years from the 
mythical age of (a) to the unknown terminus of the chronological 
system. No*w, according to Abydenus (cited by Eusebius) the 
'Chaldeans' reckoned their kings from Alorus (the first of the 
ten antediluvian kings of Berosus) to Alexander (i.e. 331323 
B.C.), hence if we reckon back from 322 we obtain 2242 or 2232 
as the date for the commencement of the historical period* If, 
however, in view of the patronage Berosus enjoyed, the date should 
perhaps be fixed at the beginning of the Seleucid Era (312 B.C.), 
the beginning will be merely ten years later. 

In any event it is quite uncertain whether the notice in Berosus 
of the '8* Median usurpers* with their 224 years (margin 34) is 
really to be regarded as a reference to the First Babylonian Dynasty 
of 1 1 kings and some 300 years, or whether the starting-point is 
the sixth and most important king, Hammurabi. Presumably, by 
* Media* we are to understand the people of the land later held by 
the Medes. But unfortunately the old classical writers contain so 
many discrepant and confused statements and figures that little 
reliance can be placed upon their unsupported testimony* Thus, 
as regards the end of the sixth division Eusebius states, after 
Alexander Polyhistor, that there followed a king of the Chaldeans 
named 'Phulus/ Phulus is the Pul of the Old Testament, Tiglath- 
pileser III. But Polyhistor, after mentioning the nine Arabian 
kings (viz. e, above), proceeds to say that Semiramis reigned over 
the Assyrians, and he then ( minutely enumerates' the names of 
4.5 kings with their 526 years, after whom came Phulus. Now 
Semiramis (the Sammuramat of history) is the famous Assyrian , 
queen of classical legend. She has a prominent position in the 
traditional lists of Assyrian kings extending from the legendary 
Ninus, the founder of Nineveh, to the equally notorious Sardan- 
apalus, who is placed at the age of a Median invasion or, other- 
wise, in the time of Nebuchadrezzar (c. 600 B.C.). To this Assyrian 
empire is attributed a duration varying from 520 years (Herodotus 


I, 96) to ten or even fourteen centuries. It looks, therefore, as 
though the scheme of Berosus has introduced the Assyrian empire 
together with the Babylonian., and that his list contains dynasties 
that were really contemporary. 

On these and other grounds the testimony of Berosus is of 
dubious value, although we need not deny that he embodies some 
ancient computations. Thus, his account of antediluvian kings, 
although of no historical importance, is of considerable interest, 
partly because of the points of contact that have been found be- 
tween it and the biblical tradition, and partly also because it goes 
back to very early Sumerian lists, where to 134 kings from the 
Deluge to the eleventh king of the dynasty of Isin is ascribed a 
total of 28,876 years, and there is a certain general resemblance 
between these lists and that of Berosus. Accordingly, while Bdrosus 
presents what is essentially a Babylonian tradition of the sequence 
of mythical and other rulers, the old Sumerian lists represent a 
much earlier and Sumerian tradition peculiar to Kish, Ur and 
other cities, before the age of Babylonian supremacy (see p. 365). 

So far as the leading chronological problems are concerned, the 
whole course of Mesopotamian history can be roughly divided into 
the three pre-Christian millennia: (i) the Sumerian and Semitic 
periods prior to the First Babylonian dynasty; (2) this dynasty, the 
Kassite dynasty, and the growth of Assyria under Tiglath-pileser I; 
and (3) the supremacy of Assyria and Its fall, the Neo-Babylonian 
empire, and Its overthrow by the Persians. The dates for the last 
period can be approximately fixed through the /zmmu-Iists* For 
the next earlier period the 'Amarna Age' is central, namely, the 
age of the fourteenth century illumined by the cuneiform tablets 
found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, which are to be supplemented 
by those found at Boghaz Keui, the capital of the Hittite empire 
of Asia Minor. 

Sennacherib asserts in his second Babylonian campaign that he 
recovered certain deities which Mardufc-nadin-akhe had carried off 
In the time of Tiglath-plleser, king of Assyria, 418 years pre- 
viously. As his conquest of Babylon can be dated at 689, Tiglath- 
pileser was evidently reigning In 1107; and as It Is known tha^r 
this defeat was not In the first five years of his reign> his first year 
must be not later than 1 1 12. At the same time, a boundary-stone 
of the Babylonian king mentions a certain victory in the tenth year 
of his reign, so that his first year may perhaps be dated 1 1176, 
Tiglath-pileser I was one of the greatest of the kings of the early 
Assyrian empire, and consequently the dates thus obtained are 
important. Moreover, he himself mentions that at the beginning 


of his reign he restored a temple at Ashur which his grandfather,, 
Ashur-dan (who 'attained to grey hairs and a ripe old age*), had 
pulld down sixty years previously. This allows us to fix the date 
of that king, who is elsewhere described as contemporary with the 
Babylonian Zamama-shum-iddin, who began to reign four years 
before the close of the Third or Kassite Dynasty. On the other 
hand, in an undated statement, Nabonidus (Nabu-naid, 555539) 
asserts that he dug down to the foundations of the temple in 
Sippar built 800 years previously by Shagarakti-Shuriash, son of 
Kutur-Enlil. This king may be identified with Shagarakti-Shuri- 
ash, son of Kutur-Enlil who, according to the lists, began to reign 
92 years before the close of the Third Dynasty and ruled for 13 
years. Accordingly he must have flourished about 1339 (539 + 8 oo), 
and the close of the Dynasty must then be dated about the first 
half of the thirteenth century, or about a century earlier than the 
date now generally accepted. But since the number given by Na- 
bonidus is clearly a round one it need not be taken too literally. 

Again, when Sennacherib conquered Babylon he recovered the 
seal of Tukulti-Ninurta, son of Shalmaneser of Assyria, 600 years 
after its capture. It is doubtful whether this occurred in the first 
or the second campaign of Sennacherib (702 or 689); and the 
figure is again a round one. But we may safely place Tukulti- 
Ninurta shortly after 1300. This king was the grandson of Adad- 
nirari, and the conqueror of Kashtiliash III of Babylon; and his 
genealogy is recorded back to Ashur-uballit, whose daughter 
married Burna-Buriash of Babylon, a contemporary of the Egyptian 
Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton) who can be independently dated at 
1380. These are not, indeed, final dates; there are discrepancies 
and inconsistencies, but the broad outlines are clear. 

The Third or Kassite Dynasty, to which the late Babylonian 
Royal List ascribes 36 kings reigning 576 years, 9 months, can 
be provisionally dated about 17461169. There are unfortun- 
ately great gaps in the middle; and while the lower end can be 
associated with the history of the ' Amarna' and later ages, the 
upper portion is more obscure. To the First (Babylonian) and 
Second dynasties are ascribed by the old lists 1 1 kings each and 
totals of 304 and 368 years respectively, and on the assumption 
that all three dynasties were consecutive it was supposed that the 
First began c. 2440 B.C. But it has since been discovered that the 
Second Dynasty (that of the Sea-Lands, or Lower Babylonia) was 
partly contemporary with the First and the Third, and conse- 
quently the dates must be considerably reduced. 

Now, the Babylonian Nebuchadrezzar I, who was a contem- 


porary of the father of Tiglath-pileser I, and therefore flourished 
about the latter half of the twelfth century, was separated," accord- 
ing to a boundary stone of the period, by 696 years from*Gul- 
kishan, who is known as the sixth king of the Second Dynasty. 
But since the stone refers to events in the fourth year of his imme- 
diate successor, Enlil-nadin-apli, we have a round seven centuries 
between the latter and Gulkishar, and the figure 696 at once loses 
its semblance of precision. At all events, if Gulkishar (who reigned 
55 years) may be placed about the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, the beginning of the dynasty the five preceding kings are 
assigned a total of 193 years will evidently be a couple of cen- 
turies earlier. The first of these, Iluma-ilu, waged war with Ham- 
murabi's son (Samsu-iluna) and grandson (Abi-eshu); and the 
famous Hammurabi himself, according to Nabonidus, flourfshed 
seven centuries before Burna-Buriash, who, as we have seen, was 
a contemporary of Amenhotep IV (V. 1 380). The great Babylonian 
king, whose name probably reappears in Amraphel, one of the 
kings said to have been defeated by Abraham (Gen. xiv), can 
therefore be dated about 2100 B.C. The coincidence is interesting, 
but perhaps may only be due to common reliance upon the same 
chronological scheme. However, the same date has been reached 
through a series of tablets of astrological omens derived from ob- 
servations of the planet Venus, and containing a precise reference 
to the eighth year of Ammi-zaduga, whose reign can be dated on 
independent astronomical grounds at 1977. As the lists place him 
103 years after Hammurabi's reign of 43 years,, we can thus ob- 
tain for the latter the date, 21232081. 

On the other hand, quite another indication Is afforded by 
Shalmaneser I, who, as the father of Tukulti-Ninurta, flourished 
soon after 1300 B.C. He refers to the building of a temple in Ashur 
by Ushpia; which was rebuilt by Erishu, and 159 years later 
again rebuilt by Sharnshi-Adad, and finally after 580 years burned 
down in his own reign. But Esarhaddon, who lived some BIX cen- 
turies later, gives the figures as 126 and 434. If we accept the 
former, Erishu may be dated about 2040, and if his father Ilu- 
shuma may be identified with the contemporary of Sumu-abu, thf 
founder of the First Dynasty, the lists reckon 1 02 years from his 
accession to that of Hammurabi. If, on the other hand, we accept 
the latter, the beginning of the Dynasty would be in the first half 
of the twentieth century. In either event the date of Hammurabi 
is brought considerably below that previously mentioned, and the 
difference between the figures of Shalmaneser and those of Esar- 
haddon is a disconcerting example of the difficulties of Mesopo- 


tamian chronology. For the sake of completeness it may be added 
that Shamshi-Adad, who, according to Esarhaddon, was the son 
of BeKkabi, is also the name of a contemporary of Hammurabi; 
and if 159 (or 126) years sever him from Erishu, the latter's 
father is severed by 102 years from Hammurabi. But another of 
the same name, son of Ishme-Dagan, is mentioned by Tiglath- 
pileser as restoring the temple of Ami and Adad in Ashur, 641 
years before it was pulled down by Ashur-dan (named above), and 
must therefore have lived c. 1820 (perhaps 18401821). A third 
of the name should, however, probably be presumed, an experi- 
ence by no means uncommon in dealing with little-known kings 
of Mesopotamia (see pp. 490, 568 ^.). 

Finally, n unambiguous indication is afforded by the state- 
ment fif Ashurbanipal (c. 650) that he recovered an image which 
the Elamite Kutur-nakhkhunte had carried off 1635 years earlier 
(c. 2280), as it is uncertain whether the events he refers to occurred 
during the Elamite campaigns in the First Babylonian Dynasty 
or earlier (see p. 471). 

Consequently the dates of the early Babylonian dynasties can- 
not be fixed with the precision desired; and although the discovery 
that the first three dynasties are not to be reckoned consecutively 
has narrowed the extent of the divergence in modern computa- 
tions, the chronological schemes that have been proposed vary 
according to their reliance upon the trustworthiness of the refer- 
ences already mentioned, and of the figures in the Royal Lists and 
other summaries. 

As for the earliest period the dates depend primarily upon the 
history and chronology of the dynasties in question. It is true 
that the dynasties of Ur and I sin have been dated on the basis of a 
reference to the capture of Isin by Rim-sin of Larsa in the seven- 
teenth year of Sin-muballit, the father of Hammurabi. On this 
view the two dynasties of five and eleven kings, reigning 117 and 
225 years respectively, then came to an end, and their commence- 
ment would be about three-and-a-half centuries before the age of 
Hammurabi. The evidence, however, is inconclusive, and what- 
ever other points of contact can be found, there always remains 
the solitary chronological notice for which Nabonidus is once more 
the authority. He declares that he saw the foundation inscription 
of the temple of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon of Agade, which no 
one had seen for 3200 years. As he lived c* $$539, at a stroke 
we are taken back to the thirty-eighth century B.C., far removed 
from all tangible and consecutive history. On the other hand, we 
should note that (i) in an old chronicle the section concerning 


Dungi, the second king of the dynasty of Ur (c. twenty-fifth cen- 
tury) follows immediately after that concerning Naram-Sin, More- 
over (2)5 for palaeographical reasons, the age of Sargon and Maram- 
Sin can hardly be severed by any great interval from the other 
early dynasties. Finally (3), at Nippur the pavement of Ur-Engur, 
the first king of the dynasty of Ur, rested immediately upon the 
brickwork of Naram-Sin (cf. also pp 390, 419 sq^ 426). On these 
and other grounds, it has been found impossible to accept the extra- 
ordinary figures of Nabonidus, and we should perhaps assume a 
simple clerical mistake and reduce his figure to 2200. Against the 
view that Naram-Sin fought Menes of Egypt, and that Sargon's 
age can be dated by Egyptian chronology, see pp, 171 j^., 303 n. 

The chronological framework of Mesopotamiandiistory there- 
fore rests primarily upon a combination of fixed dates (the? limmu 
lists), early computations, synchronisms and lists, and on the inter- 
pretation of the relevant historical and other notices and allusions. 
For further details reference must be made to the discussions in 
the following chapters, and the tables at the end of the volume. 
Below are given some of the chief dates most of them only ap- 
proximate of leading authorities, viz;. Jastrow (J), L, W, King 
(K), Langdon (L), Eduard Meyer (M) and R, Campbell Thomp- 
son (T). 

Sargon of Agade . . 2872 (L), 2650 (K), 2500 (J, M). 

Dynasties of Ur and Ism 2474 (L), 24002100 (K), 2304-1963 (M), 

23001980 (J). 

First Dynasty of Babylon 22251926 (K, T), 20601761 (J, M). 

Hammurabi . . 2123 208 r (K., T), 1958 1916 (J 5 M), 

Second Dynasty (the Sea- 20851718 (Ungnad), 1910 (M)> i goo- 
Country) 17200*), 20701703 (T), 

Third (Kassite) Dynasty 1 760-1 185 (K)> 1 746-1 1 69 (T). 

Gulkishar . 1877-1823 (J, T). 

1276-1257 Tf). 
1 146-1 123 (T), c. 1 140 (K). 
c. ii25(J), 1 1 15-1103 (T). 
c. iuo(K). 

745-7^7 CD- 
604-561 (K). 


Shalmaneser I 
Nebuchadrezzar I 
Tiglath-PIleser I 
Tiglath-Pileser III 
Nebuchadrezzar II 
Nabunaid (Nabonidus) 


Although ordinary ideas of the history of the ancient East have 
commonly been based upon the Old Testament, the latter has no 
true era and its dates are a matter of careful computation. It cer- 
tainly contains very precise chronological schemes, but these are 


distinct from, and often inconsistent with, the narratives embedded 
in them.*Thus, in the book of Genesis, the elaborate chronological 
scheme that runs through the book will often represent the patri- 
archs as being of an age very different from what we should expect 
from the popular stories* In point of fact the Israelites entered 
history after the best days of Egypt and Babylonia, and, like the 
Arabs of the days of Islam, they were in several respects relatively 
simple. For example, they maintained the practice of reckoning 
periods and historical vicissitudes in terms of genealogies and 
generations, similar to the early pedigrees of the Greeks. But the 
duration of a generation is obviously variable, and the genealogical 
lists are wont to suffer from interpolation or abbreviation, whether 
accidental 01* intentional. 

OrPthe other hand, we certainly find events dated by reference 
to other events, e.g. to the Exodus (Ex. xvi, i), the capture of 
Ashdod (Is. xx, i), and the Exile (Ezek. xxxiii, 2 1). The prophecy 
of Amos is dated two years before what was evidently an earth- 
quake of unusual severity; and as a rule the prophecies are dated 
more or less fully by the year or reign of a king (even of Babylonia) 
or kings. In the Books of Kings events of importance for the temple 
are dated after the reigning king, and it is possible that some sys- 
tematic record was kept in the temple-archives. This is suggested 
also by the character of the more elaborate chronological schemes; 
and, while there is reason, as we shall see, to assume that there 
was some knowledge of Mesopotamian chronology, the statement 
(Num. xiii, 22) that Hebron was built seven years before Zoan 
(Tanis) in Egypt testifies to some synchronism not necessarily 
trustworthy of Egyptian and Palestinian affairs. This associa- 
tion recalls the zeal of the rival historiographers of the Ptolemaic 
and subsequent periods who vehemently and rather maliciously 
expatiated upon early relations between Jews and Egyptians at the 
time of the Hyksos kings and the Exodus. 

Now, although Tanis itself dates from before the eleventh 
dynasty of Egypt, it was rebuilt by Ramses II (thirteenth century); 
and if there were some tradition of the founding of Hebron in the 
same period, the old belief, recorded by Josephus, that Tyre, too, 
was founded one year before the fall of Troy (and therefore about 
1 200 B.C.), or 240 years before the building of Solomon's temple 
(and therefore c. 1 1 80), may point to some common chronological 
tradition of the importance of the age in question. Tyre itself 
was in truth a much older city, but the interest of the old chrono- 
logical data lies often, not in their face-value, but in their testimony 
to early schemes or theories of history. This is especially true as 


regards the biblical chronology from the Creation of Man to the 
Deluge and thence to the time of Abraham. Here the attempts to 
fit the numbers into some reasonable scheme have always* been 
hindered by internal discrepancies in the numbers, and by the 
numerous variations between the Hebrew (or Massoretic) text, 
the Samaritan recension of the Pentateuch, and the Greek ver- 
sions. Even in 1738 Des Vignolles knew of about 200 different 
attempts to compute the earliest period : the date of the Creation 
ranging from 6984 to 3483 BC. And while the Jews reckon it at 
3760 the Greek Church has accepted 5509. Archbishop Ussher's 
calculation (4004 B.C.) in some way found a place in the reference 
editions of the Authorized Version, and his system (published 
1 650 4) and that of Dr William Hales (18091 8 174)5 have fre- 
quently been quoted and often regarded as final, Ussher did not 
strictly follow the Old Testament, according to which the dates 
for the Creation and the Deluge would be 4157 and 2501 respec- 
tively, whereas his figures are 4004 and 2348 (Hales 5411 and 
3155). He allowed 4000 years between the Creation and the birth 
of Christ in harmony with the belief that the world would last 
6000 years, namely, 2000 before the Law, 2000 tinder it, and 
2000 years under the Messiah, In thus subordinating the num- 
bers to a definite and, in this case, a Christian conception of world- 
history, he merely followed in the footsteps of earlier speculations 
(Babylonian, Persian, etc*), a clear trace of one of which can prob- 
ably be found iti the biblical figures themselves (p. 165), 

As we descend, the chronological notices become less untrust- 
worthy and Ussher's date for the accession of David (1056 B.C.) 
is probably only about fifty years too early, while that for the fall 
of Jerusalem (588 B.C.) is almost exact. The period of the Hebrew 
monarchies is in -fact the starting-point of an absolute chronology, 
thanks to the Assyrian !immu-\iBt> which have already been de- 
scribed. But although a few dates of biblical history can thereby 
be definitely fixed, much still remains uncertain owing to the 
nature of the biblical evidence itself. 

In the history of the divided monarchies of Judah and Ephraim 
(or Israel) the length of the reign of each king is given, and hh 
accession is dated by the regnal year of the rival dynasty. The 
period from the schism, when Rehoboam and Jeroboam presum- 
ably began to reign contemporaneously, to the fall of the northern 
kingdom in the sixth year of Hezekiah of Judah, is divided into 
two by the contemporary accession of Athaliah, queen of Judah, 
and Jehu of Israel. In the first subdivision, however, the syn- 
chronistic schemes reckon 8 8 years, whereas the reigns of the 


kings total 95 and 98 for Judah and Israel respectively. (The 
Septuagilit, by adding three years to the reign of Abijam of Judah, 
equalizes the numbers, I Kings xv, 2.) Now, the first year of a 
king could be that after the year in which his predecessor died 
(the Babylonian method); or it might be that year itself (the Egyp- 
tian method), in which case it could be counted twice over (as the 
last year of the dead king and the first of his successor). This 
double reckoning is seen in the case of Nadab and Blah, who are 
assigned each two years, although the synchronism shows that 
the reign of each began and ended in one year (i Kings xv jy.). 
Traces of the simpler reckoning are preserved, however, both in 
the Hebrew text and in an important recension of the Septuagint 
(Luciati's); acid if we allow for the double reckoning the years of 
both monarchies during the first subdivision amount to 89. This 
is so far satisfactory. In the second subdivision, on the other hand, 
there are irreconcilable discrepancies : 1 70 years are reckoned by 
the synchronisms, but the reigns amount to 165 and 143 for 
Judah and Israel respectively, and when allowance is made for 
double reckoning, the figures are 158 and 135. 

There is reason to believe that the synchronisms are of second- 
ary origin and a later insertion in the history; and, in fact, for the 
time of Jehoshaphat and Ahab there are traces in the Septuagint 
of another system (i Kings xvi, 29; xxii, 51; 2 Kings i, 17). In 
addition to this, not only are the totals of the reigns sometimes 
open to suspicion on various historical grounds, but it would also 
seem that the kings of Judah and of Israel were supposed to reign 
480 and 240 years respectively, and that each of these grand totals 
was artificially subdivided into three equal portions. Thus, the 
Aramean wars of Israel continued 80 years and form the second 
of three periods of 80 years each; and the second subdivision of 
the Judaean period comprises the 1 60 years from the temple re- 
form of Joash to the death of Hezekiah. Moreover, while Solomon 
is said to have begun to build the temple in the 48oth year after 
the Israelites came out of Egypt, it has been computed that 480 
years from the lower date would carry us to the end of the Exile. 
This calculation is on the assumption that the Exile lasted only 
50 years, the true number being quite uncertain. Further, it is at 
least a coincidence that the total 480 represents roughly 12 gener- 
ations, of 40 years each, that twelve generations of priests can be 
calculated from the Exodus to the days of Solomon's temple 
(i Chron. vi), and that there are eleven high-priests of the temple 
to Jehozadak, who was carried into Exile. 

The earliest absolute date is furnished by the Assyrian record 


of the defeat by Sfaalmaneser at Karkar of a confederation includ- 
ing Ahabbu Sir'lai, who Is presumably the Israelite Ah^b, son of 
OmrL This can be dated at 854 B.C. Twelve years later ShpJman- 
eser records the payment of tribute by Yaua, son (sic) of Omri, 
who is evidently the Jehu who overthrew the dynasty of Ahab. 
But it is only with difficulty that the biblical account of Ahab's 
successors, Ahaziah and Jehoram, and of the relations with the 
Arameans, can be made to fit Into the twelve years. Still, it may 
be assumed that the Assyrian year is to be reckoned, as usual, 
from the spring, and the Hebrew, In accordance with the earlier 
usage, from the autumn, and that Ahab died during the year 855 
(autumn) 854 (autumn). 

These dates 854 and 842 are commonly accepted*. Calculating 
back, and allowing for double reckoning, the accession of^Reho- 
boam and Jeroboam is inferred to be 932, that of Solomon 970, 
and that of David c. 1010. The results obtained approximately 
agree with external Phoenician and Egyptian sources. For Ahab 
married the daughter of Ethbaal of Sidon, in whose reign Men- 
ander of Epliesus records a one-year famine which Josephus iden- 
tifies with that at the beginning of Ahab's reign; and the Phoeni- 
cian lists allow the dates 878866 for the reign of Ithobal (Eth- 
baal) and 969936 for that of Hiram, Solomon's contemporary. 
As for Egypt, only one synchronism can safely be found, namely, 
Shishak, who was contemporary with the close of Solomon's reign, 
the rise of Jeroboam and the reign of Rehoboam (p. 173). 'Zerah 
the Ethiopian/ defeated by Asa (2 Chron. xiv), has been identified 
with Shlshak's successor Osorkon; but, although the Chronicler 
may have wished to make this synchronism, the narrative itself 
does not seem to have referred originally to an Egyptian invasion, 
but to one from Arabia. 

After 842 the next definite date is furnished by the mention of 
Meni^im (Menahem), of Samerinaa (Samaria), among those who 
paid tribute to Assyria In the eighth year of Tiglath-pileser III, 
i.e. 738. The 104 years that Intervene agree tolerably with 112, 
the total of the regnal years of the seven kings of Israel from Jehu 
to Menahem inclusive. Serious difficulties now arise. Menahe*n 
was succeeded by Pekahiah (2 years), Pekah (20 years), and 
Hoshea, in whose ninth year Samaria fell (2 Kings xvii, 6; xviii, 
10). But Tiglath-pileser relates (in 733) that he himself placed 
Hoshea on the throne, Samaria was besieged by Shalmaneser 
in 724722, and the fall of the city was claimed by Sargon in 722. 
Here there Is obviously no room for Pekah's long reign, and the 
relationship between him and Pekahiah (to whom Lucian's recen- 


slon ascribes 10 years) is far from clear. Various proposals have 
been mde, and it is at least certain that the fall of the northern 
kingdom was quicker than it is represented to have been in the 
chronological scheme of the biblical writer, according to which 
the last third of Israel's 80 years consisted of 40 years of glory 
under Jeroboam II, and 40 years of decline. 

Nor are the difficulties less when we turn to Judah. The fall of 
Samaria was in the sixth year of Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii, 10), 
According to the biblical figures this was 165 years after the ac- 
cession of Athaliah in 842, i.e. at the impossibly late date of 667; 
but as they also reckon 139 years to the fall of the Judaean kingdom 
in 587, we arrive at the date 727 or 720 (according as we adopt 
the longer or shorter computation). The date 720 is preferred on 
independent grounds; since, if, as we are told, Hezekiah became 
king in the third year of Hoshea at the age of 25, and his father 
Ahaz died at the age of 3 6 after a reign of 1 6 years (2 Kings xvi, 
2; xviii, i), Ahaz would be about 10 years of age when his son was 
born! Moreover, Ahaz is mentioned among the tributaries of 
Tiglath-pileser III in 72 8, and, according to Is* xiv, 28, he died 
in the year when Philistia was threatened, a reference, as is held 5 
to Sargon's expedition of 720. On the other hand, a still later date 
has been suggested, since Sennacherib's invasion of Judah in the 
fourteenth year of Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii, 1 3) can be definitely 
dated in 701, and this gives us 715 as the year of his accession. 
On the assumption that the story of the sign given to Hezekiah 
(2 Kings xx) had its basis in some eclipse, astronomical calculations 
have dated this in 679 (which is clearly too late), or in 710 (14 
March 71 iio), the year when Sargon took Ashdod. Moreover, 
the embassy of Merodach-baladan (2 Kings xx, 12), now associated 
with Hezekiah's sign and the promised defence of Jerusalem (v* 6\ 
can be dated on Independent grounds either during the former's 
short lease of power in 702, or, preferably, during his earlier reign 
(72 17 1 o), when he was at length driven out by Sargon. In addition 
to this, further difficulty is occasioned by the possibility of a second 
invasion of Palestine by Sennacherib after 701, and by the date 
,nd identification of 'Tirhakah, King of Ethiopia/ 

In consequence of these difficulties the history of this important 
period cannot be finally dated, nor is it possible to recover with 
any confidence the chronological schemes of the early writers. As 
another instance of the internal intricacies, it may be observed 
that a period of enmity between Judah and Israel culminated in 
the defeat of Amaziah and the partial destruction of Jerusalem 
by Jehoash of Israel. Forthwith Judah and Israel flourished under 

C.A.H.I I* 


the long rule of Azariah (Uzziah) and Jeroboam II respectively, 
and the latter's reign of 4 1 years ended in the thirty-eighth year 
of the former. But according to another notice, while Jeroboam 
began to reign at once, Amaziah * lived' (not * reigned') 15 years 
(xiv, 17, 23), and, according to a third, there is a gap of 12 years, 
and it is not until the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam that the 
great Judaean king came to the throne (xv, i). 

For the close of the Judaean monarchy the starting-point is the 
defeat of Necho of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar II, at the battle of 
Carchemish* According to the biblical evidence, this was in the 
first year of Nebuchadrezzar, 'king of Babylon/ and in the fourth 
year of Jehoiakim of Judah (Jer. xlvi, 2; cf. xxv, i). On the other 
hand, we learn from Berosus that his father Nabopolassar was 
still reigning, but died shortly after the victory. Thus thers is a 
discrepancy as regards the true date of the first year of Nebuchad- 
rezzar* Now, after Jehoiakim's reign of 1 1 years, Jehoiachin was 
carried off after a brief three months, and accordingly this is called 
the eighth year of Nebuchadrezzar (2 Kings xxiv, 8, 12), Jeru- 
salem was again besieged from the ninth to the eleventh years of 
Zedekiah, and was captured in Nebuchadrezzar's nineteenth year 
(xxv, i, 2, 8), On the other hand, another statement, not in the 
Septuagintj, specifies two captivities in the king's seventh and 
eighteenth years, and a third, otherwise unknown, five years later 
(Jer, Hi, 28 sqqC). Finally, while to Nebuchadrezzar is ascribed, by 
Berosus, a reign of 43 years, his successor Evil-Nferodach (Amil- 
Marduk) at once liberated Jehoiachin, who had been in captivity 
a few days short of 38 years (2 Kings xxv, 27), These discrep- 
ancies remain, and consequently the dates have not been settled 
unanimously. Nebuchadrezzar's death is dated 562 or 561, and 
the final fall of Jerusalem is fixed at 587 or preferably 586* 

As regards the length of the Exile, the familiar three-score years 
and ten is too long (Jer. xxv, 1 1 $eq\ Zech. i, 12, etc.). The first 
year of Cyrus can be independently fixed at 5387; and the foun- 
dation of the new Temple in 536 (Ezr. iii) fits in with the fifty 
years during which, according to Josephus (contra Apion. i, 21), 
the temple had been desolate* The allowance in Matthew i, ol 
fourteen generations from the Exile to the birth of Christ (14 x 40 
= 560)3 also agrees fairly with the results. Thenceforth dates can 
be more readily determined: e.g. the prophecies of Haggai and 
Zechariah in the second year of Darius (520), and the return of the 
Jews under Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes (458). But the 
historical problems themselves are exceedingly intricate. There 
was an increasing and astounding ignorance of this age, and the 


book of Daniel even gives currency to a tradition that Darius pre- 
ceded Cyrus (v, 31; vi, 28). It is not at all certain that the above- 
mentioned Artaxerxes was the first of the three kings who bore 
that name, and here as elsewhere the chronological questions are 
bound up with questions of historical criticism. 

For the periods before the kings of Judah and Israel there are 
no fixed dates. According to a late and doubtful statement, when 
Solomon began to build the temple in his fourth year (c. 967, see 
above) 480 years had elapsed since the Israelites came out of 
Egypt (i Kings vi, i). The various biblical chronological notices 
amount to 534 years, and this number is exclusive of the rule of 
Joshua, Samuel and Saul. Various acute efforts have been made 
to harmonize the statements, and it is observed that, if we reckon 
480 years as equivalent to 12 generations, we can count 12 priests 
from Eleazar's son to Solomon's priest Azariah (i Chron. vi, 
310), and 12 prominent leaders (Moses, Joshua, Othniel, Ehud, 
Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, Eli, Samuel, Saul and 
David). On these figures the Exodus would have occurred in the 
fifteenth century (967 + 480); whereas, if we accept the figure 
534, or the figure given by Josephus for the interval (vix* 612, 
c* A-p* n, 2), this event would be a century earlier. 

If, however, we attempt to reckon forward from the time of 
Abraham, we have a choice of variant traditions. The patriarchs 
were in Palestine 215 years (Gen. xii, 4, and other notices), and 
the Israelites remained in Egypt for 400 years (Gen. xv, 13) 
or 430 (Ex. xii, 40). Hence an interval of 615 (or 630) years 
separates Abraham from the Exodus. But the Septuagint, by allow- 
ing 430 (or 435) years for the entire interval (similarly Gal, iii, 1 7), 
reduces the length of the Egyptian period to 2 1 $ years. Similarly, 
Gen. xv, 16, represents a period of merely four generations, and 
with this agree approximately the genealogical lists (Ex. vi, 1427, 
Numb, xxvi, 59; Josh, vii, i); and Joseph is even said to live to 
see his grandchildren who were contemporaries of Moses (Gen. 
1, 23; Num. xxxii, 3941)* 

If we leave the biblical notices and consider the external evi- 
cLsnce, the first clue should be the date of Hammurabi, with whose 
name we may doubtless identify that of Abraham's foe Amraphel 
(Gen. xiv). It is not impossible that there were records or traditions 
synchronizing the two, and consequently the first half of the 
twenty-first century would be a plausible date for the Hebrew 
patriarch. It is then possible that the descent of Jacob or Israel into 
Egypt, 215 years later, represents the biblical writers* idea of the 
Hyksos invasion; in any case, the Hyksos period made a great im- 


pression upon late Alexandrian writers., and Jewish historians may 
not unnaturally have striven to co-ordinate Jewish and Egyptian 
tradition (see pp. 2 2 2, 3 r i ) . All this, however, is entirely conj ectural ; 
and we are not on much surer ground when we attempt to date 
the Exodus by external evidence. If the Israelites built Pithom 
and Raamses in the time of Ramses II (Exod. i, 1 i), the Exodus 
is consequently later (thirteenth century), and the figures for the 
period from the Exodus to Solomon must be considerably reduced. 
And if we adopt this thirteenth-century date, and enquire when 
Israel descended into Egypt, the variant traditions of the duration 
of the bondage allow abundant range. It has been varyingly sug- 
gested that the sons of Jacob or Israel entered with the Hyksos 
and came out with them, or that it was only after the exodus of the 
Hyksos that there arose the king who 'knew not Josepbu' But 
Joseph has also been identified with a minister of the time of 
Amenhotep IV (c. 1380), and even with a later Semitic official 
(c. 1200) before the rise of Ramses IIL 

External history may suggest that the biblical chronology of 
the period from Abram (Abraham) to David and Solomon should 
be subordinated to what is known of the Hyksos, or connected 
with the movements of the time of Amenhotep III and IV. In any 
event, the activity of the Philistines before the rise of the Hebrew 
kingdom and the fact that this independent monarchy itself could 
arise owing to the weakness of the surrounding empires, may cer- 
tainly be said to support the broad outlines of the biblical history. 
Yet it must be recognized that there is a complicated blend of trust- 
worthy and untrustworthy material, not unlike what may be found 
in Berosus, or in the Alexandrian writers, or in such a work as 
Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Britonum^ and this precludes 
any further attempt to disentangle the chronological intricacies 
without the help of conclusive external evidence. 

As becomes more evident when we approach the pre-Abra- 
hamic period, the figures, although of extraordinary precision, re- 
present particular schemes and calculations, the source of which 
can hardly be conjectured. It is possible to compute 2666 
years from the Creation to the Exodus, and this number is twc- 
thirds of a cycle of 4000. Following this up it has been observed 
that if we regard this number as 26 centuries or generations, we 
may assign 20 from Adam to Abraham, one each to Isaac, Jacob, 
Levi, Kohath, Amram, and Aaron, while the fraction remains 
for Eleazar, who was an adult at the time of the Exodus. This 
does not stand alone. Through the loss or the addition of whole 
hundreds the figures from the Creation to the Deluge are 1656 


(Hebrew text)., 1307 (Samaritan version) and 2242 or 2262 
(Septuagint). But it is at least a coincidence that the number 
2 2 6& approximates to the 2280 which Africanus, on the authority 
of Manetho, gives for Egypt from Menes to the end of the Xlth 
Dynasty; and it is possible that the Septuagint was acquainted 
with Manetho's chronology. Again, the 432,000 years ascribed 
by Berosus to the 10 antediluvian kings of Babylonia represent 
86,400 lustra^ and the same number of weeks would represent 
1656 years, the number given by the Hebrew text. Accordingly, 
the Hebrew * week-unit' would seem to correspond to a Baby- 
lonian unit of five years; and, in a word, the general result is to 
indicate a complexity which is probably due to the fusion of 
different systems and schemes. 

It fe quite typical, therefore, that In the Pentateuch there are two 
full forms of dating, the one by day, month and year (Num. i, r, 
etc.) and the other by year, month and day (Num. x, n, etc.), 
and that these correspond respectively to Mesopotamian and 
Egyptian methods. Again, while the Jews came to adopt the Baby- 
lonian names for the months, and to transfer the beginning of the 
year to the spring, the final chronological system seems to show 
conformity to Egyptian reckoning, viz. by months of 30 days and 
a solar year of 365 J days. Yet besides Egyptian and Mesopotamian 
influences, there was, it would seem, an elaborate system of 
reckoning by generations of 40 years, and this rather rudimentary 
system is entirely characteristic of the more simple and naive life 
and thought of the Israelites. 

It is regrettable that the fixed dates of the Old Testament should 
be so few. But the historical books in their present form are rela- 
tively quite late. They are the result of complicated editorial pro- 
cesses which are also reflected in the intricacies of the chrono- 
logical frameworks, wherein earlier narratives and sources have 
been fitted and adjusted to much later conceptions of monarchical 
history, of the history of the Hebrews, and of the history of the 
world as then known. Still, it must be more than a coincidence 
that Hebrew post-diluvian tradition enters upon a new stage with 
Abram who Is assigned to an age evidently contemporary both 
with that of Hammurabi (of the First Babylonian Dynasty) in 
Mesopotamia, and with that of the Xllth Dynasty in Egypt. The 
era of Abraham adopted by Eusebius thus has some justification 
in tradition (see p. 145). 

The following dates are mainly those of Driver, with the inclu- 
sion of those of Ussher (U), Skinner (S), etc. Dates fixed indepen- 
dently by Assyrian evidence are in square brackets. 



c. 2100 Abraham, 1996-1821 (U)j real biblical date 21 1 1-20315. 

c, 1230 The Exodusj 1491 (U). 

c. 1025 Saul ? 1099 (U). 

c. 1010 David, 1056 (U). 

c. 970 Solomon, 1017 (U). 

c * 933 Separation of Judah and Israel, 977 (U). 

876 Ahab, 9i8(U). 

[854 Ahab at battle of Karkar.J 

843 Jehu(S). 

[842 Jehu's tribute to Assyria.] 

797 Amaziah, 798 (S), 790(0. C. Whitehouse). 

783 Jeroboam II> 785 (S, Whitehouse). 

779 Uzziah. 

743 Menahem, 745 (S). 

[738 Menahem pays tribute to Tiglath-pileser IIL] 

736 Ahaz, 735(8), 

728 Hezekiah, 726 (U), 725 (Robertson Smith), 720 (S, H. P, Smith), 
715 (Hezekiah's sole reign; 726715, Hezekiah and Ahaz; 

[722 Fall of Samaria.] 

[701 Sennacherib's campaign against Phoenicia, Palestine and Philistia.j 

639 Josiah, 641 (U), 640 (H. P. Smith), 637 (S). 

[605 Battle of Carchemish.] 

597 ^i rst captivity, 599 (U). 

586 Fall of Jerusalem, 588 (U), 587 (S). 

561 Release of Jehoiachin. 

538 Capture of Babylon; edict of Cyrus, 536 (U). 

516 Completion of Second Temple. 

458 Return of Exiles under Ezra, seventh year of Artaxerxes. 

445 First Visit of Nehemiah to Jerusalem* 

432 Second visit of Nehemiah (ch. xiii, 6), 434 (U). 


The chronology of ancient Egyptian history depends largely 
upon that of Babylonia. For Egypt we have nothing corresponding 
to the regular chronology of the eponymous /f#w&-officials, and 
the Egyptians never had an era continuously used* There occurs, 
indeed, c the year 400 of Nubti* on a monument of Ramses II, 
which incidentally dates the Hyksos period to 400 years before 
his time; but this instance is isolated. As a rule, the Egyptians 
only mention such and siich a year of King X, In early times 
they, like the Babylonians, merely quoted a year as that in which 
some particular event occurred. Later, they reckoned by the 
fiscal numberings that took place every two years, in connexion 
with the festival of Horus. As time went on these records 
were combined into regnal annals, engraved on monumental 


stelae set up under the Vth Dynasty. Fragments of these have been 
discovered in modern days. The famous Palermo Stele is one of 
theim Scrappy as they are, these fragments are Invaluable, because 
they give us hints of the approximate lengths of the reigns of some 
of the kings from the 1st to the Vth Dynasty. 

It was the habit of the kings of the Xllth Dynasty to associate 
their sons with them on the throne; and this custom, combined with 
the fact that the regnal year is more frequently mentioned on monu- 
ments of this period than of any other, supplies a useful check on 
chronology. When we know that the thirtieth year of Amenemhet I 
was also the tenth of his son Senusret (Sesostris) I, and that the 
forty-fifth of Senusret was also the third of Amenemhet II, 
and so on, *>we can reconstruct the regnal years of the dynasty 
with*considerable accuracy. This custom was revived under the 
XXIInd Dynasty, The Turin Papyrus of Kings, compiled under 
the XlXth Dynasty 3 gives the duration of the reigns (sometimes 
with the odd months and days), but the kings to which they refer 
cannot always be identified* This document has to be used with 
caution because it was garbled by copyists. There is a notable 
instance of a mistake in the regnal years which the papyrus assigns 
to Pepi I of the VI th Dynasty, He apparently reigned 50 years, but 
here he is credited with only 20* Manetho, the Ptolemaic historio- 
grapher, gives him fifty-three, which is likely enough. As for 
Manetho, originally his dates were probably trustworthy; but his 
text has been so terribly mangled by copyists that it would be 
most unsafe to trust its data unless they are confirmed by the 
Turin Papyrus or by monumental evidence. The regnal years of 
a few kings, who are historical persons, given by Herodotus and 
Diodorus are of little value. 

So much for the direct sources. In order to compile a definite 
list of the probable lengths of the reigns, we have to fall back 
very largely upon the study of the monuments, checked by syn- 
chronisms with Mesopotamian history. These synchronisms are 
based ultimately on the limmu-lists and the succession-lists of the 
Mesopotamian kings. Thus the known date of Shalmaneser I of 
Assyria (p. 153 jy.) fixes approximately that of his Egyptian con- 
temporary Ramses II and other kings (e.g. Kadashman-turgu of 
Babylonia), and also that of his great-great-grandfather, Ashur- 
uballit, who was contemporary with Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton), 

Astronomical evidence has also been successfully used in con- 
nexion with data derived from Mesopotamia. Eclipses were not 
noticed with any particular interest in Egypt. It is the observation 
not of eclipses but of the heliacal risings of Sirius that helps our 


chronological enquiries. The Egyptians had discovered ^the true 
length of the solar year from their observations of the"" heliacal 
rising (that is, the latest visible rising before sunrise) of the star 
Sinus, which they called Sothis. This civil year consisted of 365 
days (360+ 5 epagomenal). They did not intercalate an addi- 
tional day every four years. The necessity of this intercalation may 
have been known to the later Egyptians, but it was never officially 
recognized, probably on account of a religious conservatism, like 
that which preserves the Julian calendar in Russia and Greece, 
Hence the months lost all relations to the seasons, and if the 
heliacal rising of Sirius fell on the first day of the first month, say, 
in 4241 B.C., it would fall in the middle of the year at the end of 
730 years (in 3511 B.C.), and would not coincide again with the 
first day of the first month till 2781 B.C., when 1460 years had 
been completed. This interval of 1460 years, due to the defects of 
the Egyptian calendar, is known as the Sothic cycle. It was only 
used for regulating the calendar, never for dating events. 

Now, we know that a new Sothic cycle began in A.D. 139 (or 
143). Theon, the mathematician of Alexandria, calls the preceding 
cycle, which must have begun in 1321 B.C. (or 1317), 'the epoch 
of Menophres.' The 'throne-name* of Ramses I, who succeeded 
Harmhab about 1321 B.C., was Menpehre. His date is known 
because his predecessor dated the years of his reign from the death 
of Amenhotep III, the father of Ikhnaton (whose reign is ignored 
on account of his religious heresy), and * reigned' at least 59 years, 
13801321 B.C. Thus 1321 B.C. was the first year of a Sothic 
cycle, and the evidence fits in well. The two preceding cycles will 
have begun in 2778 or 2781 B.C. and 4238 or 4241 B.C., and in 
one of these years the cycle was instituted (p, 248). 

If we find that the heliacal rising of Sirius is noted in an Egypt- 
ian document as falling in a certain month of a certain year in the 
reign of a certain king, it would seem that by calculating the loss 
of days implied we could discover the year B.C. to which the given 
year corresponds. On this principle, by means of a statement in a 
papyrus found at Kahun, that Sothis rose heliacally on the first of 
the month Pharmouthi in the seventh year of Senusret III, it ha^ 
been computed that this year was 1882 (1876) or 1876 (1872) 
B.C., while from the same data another computer has arrived at 
1945 B.C. But there are many considerations which militate against 
an unreserved acceptance of either of these dates, in the present 
state of our knowledge. If the former date were accepted, the end 
of the Xllth Dynasty would fall in 1788 B.C. But it will be ad- 
mitted by all who have studied the material for the history of the 


time that to allow only two centuries for the period between 
Dynasties XII and XVIII is difficult. If there are resemblances 
in culture between the Xllth and the early reigns of the XVIIIth 
Dynasty which argue a comparative proximity in time, there are, 
on the other hand, differences which cannot be accounted for if 
the distance is to be measured by no more than two hundred 
years. The Xllth Dynasty itself lasted for two centuries: are the 
changes observable during its continuance in any way comparable 
to those which had come about between its termination and the 
rise of the XVIIIth? The answer can only be a decided negative. 
Moreover, it seems impossible to find room in two centuries for 
the two dynasties of the Hyksos or 'Shepherd-kings,' preceding 
the XVIIItJi Dynasty, some of whom seem to have had very long 
reigns and to have ruled the whole land (so that they cannot have 
been contemporaneous with other kings ruling in the south whose 
names we know), as well as for the long Xlllth Dynasty that pre- 
ceded them, some of whose kings also reigned long and ruled the 
whole country. 

An attempt has been made to cut this Gordian knot by pushing 
the Xllth Dynasty back a whole Sothic period of 1460 years, and 
assuming the true date of Senusret III to be about 3330 B.C. This 
seems an impossible solution. For though we might find some 
support for it in the long periods assigned by Manetho to the 
dynasties between the Xllth and the XVIIIth, 1600 years is far 
too long a period to be compatible with the resemblances between 
the Middle Kingdom and the beginning of the New Kingdom, 
and is far longer than our material demands. Were the Sothic 
date unknown, our evidence would not require more than 400 or 
at most 500 years between the two dynasties (see also p. 303 #.). 

In the present writer's view, there must have been some mistake 
in the original observation of the star (if not in the modern calcula- 
tion of the date); or possibly some change in the calendar, unknown 
to us, was introduced between the time of Senusret III and the 
beginning of Dynasty XVIII. Until the astronomical date is con- 
firmed by another recorded observation in another reign, we are 
h.ot justified in assuming that the Xllth Dynasty ended so late as 
1788 B.C., or even 70 years earlier. Provisionally it would seem 
best to assume the round date 2000 B.C. for the end of Dynasty 
XII , This would satisfy all the requirements of our other know- 
ledge. But it must be borne in mind that the majority of writers 
accept the later date which it seems difficult to reconcile with 
the facts (see p. 3 1 5 jy.). 

If any change occurred which would invalidate the accuracy of 


the computation some failure of record, perhaps, consequent on 
the Hyksos invasion and resulting anarchy it must have occurred 
before the rise of the XVIIIth Dynasty. This is certain from the 
fact that the dates of certain new-year festivals which were cele- 
brated on certain days of the month in certain years of the kings 
Thutmose III and Amenhotep I can, by computing back from 
the epoch of Menophres, be fixed to the years 1474 (or 1470) and 
1550 (or 1546) B.C. And from what we know of the lives of the 
kings of Dynasty XVIII and of the details of the history of the 
time, we can see that these dates correspond to what a dead reckoning 
from the time of Ramses I would demand. Computing back from 
Amenhotep I, we find that Amosis, the founder of the dynasty, 
must have ascended the throne about 1580 B.C. This, in the 
present writer's opinion, is the earliest date for an Egyptian king 
of which we can be absolutely certain within the margin of a few 
years either way. 

Taking the hypothetical date of (about) 2000 BC, for the end 
of Dynasty XII and working back, we reckon up the regnal years 
of the kings of this dynasty as to which we have clearly seen that 
we are very fully informed. By this means we are able to arrive at 
(about) 2375 B.C. for the beginning of Dynasty XL 

At this point we reach the second 'dark age' that meets us in a 
regress through Egyptian history, the period intervening between 
the Old and the Middle Kingdom. There were eighteen kings of 
Dynasties IX and X, namely the Heracleopolites, of whom the 
latest were contemporaneous with the earlier kings of Dynasty XL 
We do not know whether they were also contemporaries of the 
later Memphite kings of Dynasties VII and VIIL The official 
Egyptian lists recognized as legitimate the kings of Dynasties VII 
and VIII and the later kings of Dynasty XI, but did not recognize 
the Heracleopolites. Thus it is uncertain whether we are to sup- 
pose that the last king of Dynasty VIII immediately preceded, in 
the north, the king of Dynasty XI who united the two kingdoms 
under the Theban sceptre (Nebhapetre), or that a number of 
Heracleopolites intervened between them. The Turin Papyrus 
of kings appears to count the sum of the years of the king^ 
from Dynasty I to Dynasties VII and VIII as 955, If the Hera- 
cleopolites never ruled over the whole country but were contem- 
poraneous with the Memphites, then, reckoning 955 years from 
Nebhapetre, whose reign probably began about 2290 B.C., we 
shall get (about) 3200 B.C. as the date of Menes, the unifier of 
Egypt and the founder of the monarchy. 

But it is more probable that several of the Heracleopolite kings 

IV ? m] DATE OF MENES 171 

did rule over all Egypt; and moreover we have to account for the 
degeneration of art and culture which is apparent under Dynasty 
XI as compared with Dynasty VI, a fact which points to a con- 
siderable period of anarchy and possibly foreign invasion (see 
below, p. 295 jy.). We can hardly assume less than one century 
of decadence between Dynasties VI and XI; on the other hand, not 
more than two, since in many ways the two ages approximate very 
closely, much more closely than Dynasties XII and XVIII. More- 
over, we have to allow for the kings of Dynasties VII and VIII, 
the last of whom were possibly contemporary with the first Hera- 
cleopolites. Thus we come to 2600 (less preferably 2500) B.C. as 
the latest probable date for the end of the Vlth Dynasty. 

Now if we reckon the 955* years of the Turin Papyrus from 
2400 B.C. (as the probable date of the end of Dynasty VIII), we 
get 3355 B.C. as the date of Menes, which nearly agrees with that 
adopted by some high authorities. But the 955 years of the Papyrus 
need not be taken as final, for mistakes were made by the copyists, 
e.g. in the case of King Pepi L If, then, we combine the informa- 
tion supplied by the Papyrus with that available from other sources 
and a dead reckoning of the probable lengths of the reigns, de- 
rived from a study of the monuments, we find that very nearly 
1000 years must have elapsed from the founding of the monarchy 
to the end of Dynasty VI. Thus we arrive at 3500 B.C. as an 
approximate date for Menes. This agrees with the calculation of 
those who hold the later date of the Xllth Dynasty, that an interval 
of roughly 1500 years separated Dynasty I from Dynasty XII. 
Our argument puts each of these dynasties about two centuries 

The bold suggestion has been made that Menes, the founder of 
the Egyptian monarchy, is none other than Manium or Mannu- 
dannu, king of * Magan,' who is mentioned by Naram-Sin, the early 
Semitic king of Babylonia (cf. p. 4 1 5 sy*'). Now the Babylonian king 
Nabonidus states thatNaram-Sin reigned 3 200 years before his own 
time, that is, about 3750 B.C. (above, p. 155 jf.). As there seems 
to be a historical blank between this date and the period of Gudea, 
patesi of Lagash, who certainly reigned not long before 2500 B.C., 
and as such a remote date for a Semitic king seems inherently im- 
probable (seeing that Sumerians were still reigning in Babylpjtii& 
after Gudea's time), it has of later years generally been supposed 
that Nabonidus made a mistake of a round thousand and mdant 
to say 2200, thus making Naram-Sin's date 2750 B.C., which is 
far more probable. Accordingly, the suggestion can be maintained 
only if we bring down the date of Menes from, the minimum of 


3500 B.C., which seems to be demanded, to 3000 B.C. But it is 
surely Impossible to assign such a late date to the 1st Dynasty, and 
if it is held that Magan is Egypt and Manium is Menes, we .-must 
admit that the actual figures of Nabonidus for the date of Naram- 
Sin are correct and that Menes reigned about 3750 B.C. This is 
quite as probable as the minimum date we have postulated, 3500 
B.C. But the gap of 1200 years between Naram-Sin and Gudea 
would still remain to be explained. Moreover, Mannu or Manium 
was a usual Semitic name in Naram-Sin's time; and although 
Magan may conceivably be the western coast of the Red Sea, and 
so Egypt in a sense, it is not certain that the land of Melukhkha, 
which is often mentioned along with Magan and certainly meant 
Ethiopia in later times, had the same signification in the age of 
Naram-Sin (see p. 416). The assignation of the name to EtKiopia 
two thousand years later may have been due to faulty antiquar ianism. 
Therefore, with our present knowledge, we cannot claim 3750 B.C. 
as the date of Menes on the ground that he was contemporary 
with Naram-Sin, though otherwise the date is probable enough. 

If the Sothic cycle was first observed in 27 8 1 B.C. this event would, 
on our chronological scheme, have taken place under the Vth 
Dynasty. But it is highly probable that the cycle, and quite certain 
that the calendar to which it was applied, are both much older. 
The civil year of 360+ 5 days is mentioned in the 'Pyramid 
Texts,* inscribed under the Vth and Vlth Dynasties, but in reality 
far older. And under the I Vth Dynasty we hear of two New Year 
Days, 'the First of the Year/ which apparently relates to the civil 
calendar, and the * Opening of the Year,' which is connected with 
the Sothic year. It is then obvious that the civil calendar was estab- 
lished and its relation to the Sothic year known earlier than the 
IVth Dynasty, Either^ then, the date of the IVth Dynasty, and of 
the mention of the civil calendar with its epagomenal days under 
the Vth, is later than 2781 B.C., which is hardly possible; or the 
Egyptian civil calendar was introduced in 4241 B.C., or another 
Sothic cycle earlier, 4241 B.C., in the times before the foundation 
of the united monarchy, is the more probable date, and, if it is 
right, it is the earliest that we know in Egyptian history. 

To return to the starting point from which we worked back. 
Ramses II was reigning about 1260 B.C, and his reign can be fixed 
with fair accuracy to 13001234 B.C., by means of dead reckoning 
and other evidence. After him the principal synchronism is that 
between SHshak (Sheshonk), Jeroboam of Israel, and Rehoboam 
of Judah. This date has been fixed, on the authority of the Assyrian 
/immu~lists and the biblical evidence, to the neighbourhood of 930 

, in] 


B.C., and the reign of Shishak may fairly be assigned to 947925 
B.C. After this, we enter the accurately dated domain of Assyrian 
histc^ry, which certifies our Egyptian dates down to the seventh 
century when the list of limmi ceases, but not before we are able 
to date Psammetichus I to 651-610 B.C. After him we have the 
Greek historians to guide us. 

The following chronological framework has thus been estab- 
lished; for the sake of comparison some dates maintained by other 
authorities are inserted, vi%. Breasted (B) and Meyer (M), 

4241 (?) 

3500 (?) 
30*0 (?) 
2600 (?) 
2400 (?) 

2375 "" 


c. 1650 
c. 1580 

Institution of the Calendar(F). Beginning of the First Sothic 


Beginningof theOld Kingdom; Dynasty I. 3400 (B), 331 5 (M). 
Approximate date of the Great Pyramid (Dynasty IV), 
Beginning of the Second Sothic Cycle. 
End of Dynasty VI. 2475 (B). 

End of the Old Kingdom; Dynasty VIII. 2445 (B). 
Beginning of the Middle Kingdom; Dynasty XL 2160 (M). 
Reunion of Egypt under Nebhapetre. 
Beginning of Dynasty XII. 2000 (B, M). 
End of Dynasty XII. 1788 (B, M). 
Hyksos Kings reigning. 
End of Middle Kingdom. Beginning of New Kingdom; 

Dynasty XVIII. 

Amenhotep I reigning (c. 15591530) 
Thutmose III reigning (c. 15011447). 
End of reign of Amenhotep III and accession of Ikhnaton 

(c. 1380-1362). 
Beginning of the Third Sothic Cycle. First year of Ramses I 

(Menophres). 1315 (B). 
Ramses II reigning (c. 130012345 12921225 B); Dynasty 


Shishak (Sheshonk I) reigning (c. 947925)5 Dynasty XXII. 
Reign of Psammetichus I (663609 B); Dynasty XXVI. 


The chronology of prehistoric Greece is naturally far from cer- 
tain although through connexions with Egypt certain general 
dates can be given. For the present everything must be based on 
the archaeological evidence till the clay tablets and other inscribed 
objects found in Crete and on the mainland of Greece can be read 
and interpreted. So many surprising revelations about the great 
prehistoric civilization of Greece, of which. Homer is the echo, 
have come to light since Schliemann first began the exploration 
of Mycenae in 1 876, that it would not greatly astonish us if some 
fortunate excavator at Cnossus 3 or some other rich site, were to 



c. 1380 





find the remains of royal and diplomatic correspondence like that 
of Tell el-Amarna. Till then, however, the potsherds and other 
archaeological finds must be the hieroglyphs from which history 
has to be pieced together, for it is a truism that in a prehistoric age 
archaeology is history. 

Archaeology divides prehistoric Greece into the four great re- 
gions : Crete (Minoan), the Cyclades (Cycladic), the Peloponnese 
and south-eastern Greece (Helladic), Thessaly and north Greece 
(Thessalian). Systems of dating the objects found have, as ex- 
plained in the last chapter, been drawn up, and it is consequently 
easy to express the date of a characteristic object from the Cyclades 
in terms of the Minoan or of the Helladic series 1 . 

These archaeological dates are purely relative, and naturally the 
series slide up or down in relation to one another as new discoreries 
are made. But the main lines have stood the test of several years 
and the general correspondences may be regarded as fixed. The 
difficulty comes when we attempt to fit these archaeological dates 
into any scheme of world chronology or to fit them on to the his- 
tory of another country outside Greece. Asia Minor is still unex- 
plored and the connexions through Macedonia and Thrace be- 
tween Greece proper and the Balkan countries are not yet known 
though some indications are already to hand. 

The one neighbouring land where there is a fairly stable chrono- 
logical system based on written documents and inscriptions is 
Egypt. Between Egypt and prehistoric Greece, especially Crete 
and Mycenae, there was intercourse as shown by Egyptian objects 
found in Crete and Mycenae, and by Cretan and Mycenaean objects 
found in Egypt. The relations between Crete and Egypt in the 
first (Early Minoan) period are indistinct, but there is clear evi- 
dence of contact between the two countries. The Early Minoan 
ossuaries, or receptacles for human bones, found in the Messara 
plain, contained some flakes of pale-grey, transparent obsidian, 
and fragments of the same kind of obsidian have been picked up 
at Cnossus* The obsidian usually found in Crete is the well-known 
black, opaque Melian obsidian, while the pale-grey transparent 
variety is found in Egyptian and Hittite sites and comes fronv 
African and Anatolian sources 2 . In the same ossuaries hundreds of 
small stone bowls were found, which, though of local fabric and 
material, are analogous to the stone vessels of the first six Egyptian 
dynasties. A large number of beautiful stone bowls of the same 
date and general character, which have been found at Mochlos and 

1 See Chap, m, pp. 139 sqq, ; and below Chap, xvxr, on early Aegean 
civilization. 2 Or possibly the Dodecanese. 


at Cnossus, were genuine Egyptian vases in Syenite and diorite 
assigned? to the late predynastic period and to the Ilnd and IVth 
Dynasties. At Cnossus, atPyrgus not far to the north-east, and in 
the cave at Arkalochori, were vases of the Early Minoan period 
which are similar to some found by Petrie in 1st Dynasty sur- 
roundings at Abydos. Another strong point of contact is formed by 
the Early Minoan seals in stone and ivory, especially those from 
the Messara ossuaries mentioned above, which by their style 
and their devices are parallel to Egyptian seals of the first six 
dynasties. Button seals of a sixth dynasty type are especially to be 
noted. Again, stone and marble palettes of Early Minoan and 
Early Cycladic times resemble analogous palettes found in early 
dynastic tombs in Egypt, 

Generally speaking, therefore, the Early Minoan period may be 
said to have begun before the middle of the fourth millennium 
and to have ended about 2250 B.C. This dating is only approxi- 
mate, and of course depends upon that assigned to the Xllth 
Dynasty. It is consequently complicated by the problems peculiar 
to early Egyptian chronology. Further, although the succession of 
pottery styles and the development of the other classes of objects 
mentioned are fairly clear within the Early Minoan period, it is 
impossible to say, except very approximately, what particular 
style in the Early Minoan period corresponds to any given Egyp- 
tian dynasty. The excavation of a well-stratified Early Minoan 
site would do much to clear up some of these points. All detailed 
study, however, of the evidence so far available, and daily increas- 
ing, brings out more and more the close connexion between Crete 
and Egypt in those remote times, 

In the Middle Minoan period the intercourse between Crete 
and Egypt so far revealed is clear and reciprocal. At Kahun were 
found Middle Minoan potsherds in a Xllth Dynasty context 
(time of Senusret II), and at Abydos a tomb of the latter half 
of the Xllth Dynasty contained a Middle Minoan II poly- 
chrome vase. Meanwhile, at Cnossus have been unearthed in 
Middle Minoan strata a diorite statuette of one Ab-nub~mes- 
jjpazet-user of the Aphroditopolite nome, dating from the Xllth 
or early XHIth Dynasty, and the lid of an alabastron bearing the 
cartouche of the Hyksos king, Khian (of the XVIIth cent. B.C.?), 
Another monument of Khian, a black granite lion in the British 
Museum, has been found at Baghdad, and suggests interesting 
speculations about the influence of this king of whom unfortun- 
ately all too little is known from the Egyptian records (p* 313). It 
nevertheless seems clear that the first two phases of the Middle 


Minoan age are contemporaneous with the Xllth Egyptian Dyn- 
asty and are therefore to be dated towards the close of the third 
millennium. But here again this date depends on the view taken of 
Egyptian chronology, as to the expansion or compression of the 
intervals between the Vlth and Xllth and between the Xllth and 
XVII Ith dynasties (see pp. 169 sqq^ 316). 

Many vases, dating from the First Late Minoan period, have 
been found in Egypt, although not all are of Cretan fabric; also 
a scarab of the later XVI I Ith Dynasty in one of the tombs of the 
Cnossian cemetery of the third phase of this period. In the frescoes 
on the walls of the tombs of Senmut and Rekhmire, great officials 
who administered Egypt under Queen Hatshepsut and Thut- 
mose III (c+ 15011447), appear Keftian and other foreigners 
bringing offerings consisting of vessels of precious metals which 
are in shape unmistakably the same as characteristic Minoan vase 
types cups like the fine gold cup from Vaphio (a type very com- 
mon in pottery of the Late Minoan I period) and rhytons (fillers) 
similar to the fine steatite specimens from Phaestus and Hagia 
Triada in Crete. Some also carry copper ingots, such as have been 
found at Phaestus* Who the Keftians were is for Egyptologists to 
decide, but it is remarkable that the Keftian bearers of tribute in the 
Egyptian tombs have a considerable likeness, both in their appear- 
ance and in the style of the frescoes themselves, to the cup-bearer 
of the Cnossus fresco. The general style of the XVIIIth Dynasty 
frescoes from Thebes and Tell el-Amarna also shows artistic kin- 
ship with the frescoes of Cnossus and Phaestus, and is again re- 
flected in an early group of frescoes from Mycenae and Tiryns. 
Through this Cretan evidence we can correlate the Late Minoan 
period with the XVIIIth Dynasty, and their parallelism is con- 
firmed by the evidence from Mycenae and elsewhere, 

At Mycenae itself several Egyptian objects have been brought 
to light. We have a monkey in blue vitreous paste with the car- 
touche of Amenhotep II 3 a faience plaque and a genuine Egyptian 
lotos-bowl with that of Amenhotep III (though unfortunately we 
do not know the context in which these were found), and a scarab 
of Queen Tiy from a chamber tomb of the Third Late Helkdir 
period. This evidence is again supported by a scarab of Amen- 
hotep III from lalyssos in Rhodes and one of Queen Tiy from 
Cyprus, both found in tombs which contained vases of the Third 
Late Minoan period. At the same time, vases of the typical My- 
cenaean style (Late Minoan III, or rather Late Helladic III, for 
the vases are Mycenaean not Cretan), have been found in quan- 
tities in Egypt, especially in the ruins of Ikhnaton's palace at 


Tell el-Amarna which thus gives a fixed date (about 1380 B.C.) 
for this style of vase-painting. They are found, too, in the foreign 
settlement at Gurob, and in many other sites in association 
with XlXth and XXth Dynasty objects. Further, in the tomb 
of Ramses III (XXth Dynasty) stirrup vases of the typical 
Mycenaean shape in gold and copper are represented, and 
Egyptian imitations of the same vase type and of rhytons in blue 
faience, which date from the XlXth Dynasty, are now in the 
British Museum. The archaeological evidence all points to the fact 
that the greatest and closest relation between prehistoric Greece 
and Egypt was during the XVIIIth, XlXthand XXth Dynasties 
(c. 15801100 B.C.), a period which may be treated as generally 
contemporaneous with the Late Minoan and Late Helladic 

Here again other considerations occur. It was in these times 
that Egypt was in close contact with, and in fact often invaded 
by, the peoples from the Great Green Sea, among whom are men- 
tioned the Danauna and the Akaiuasha, long since identified as 
'Danaoi* and 'Achaeans.* The Danauna possibly appear in a 
letter of Abimilki of Tyre to Amenhotep (Tell el-Amarna, No, 
151); later they reappear in the reign of Ramses III as threatening 
Egypt with the Libyans, Pulesati (Philistines), and certain other 
tribes that cannot be identified. It is possible that the Danauna are 
the Danaoi, and it may be more than a coincidence that their 
appearance in Egypt at this date (shortly after 1 200 B.C.), is the time 
when *the isles were restless/ and Danaoi under Agamemnon were 
besieging Troy. The Akaiuasha formed part of the horde of peoples 
who invaded the Delta in the days of Merneptah some thirty years 
earlier and were principally, it seems, from Asia Minor. If the 
Akaiuasha were Achaeans and the Danauna Danaoi, it is worth 
noting that these raids on Egypt by peoples from Greek lands 
took place in the Third Late Helladic period, which was the time 
of the greatest diffusion of Mycenaean culture, 

We shall see later that the colonization of Cyprus by Achaeans 
may be assigned, following the traditional dates, to 1 176 B.C., and 
tins island, as so often in history, would have formed an excellent 
base of operations for seafaring raiders from Asia Minor and the 
Aegean to harry the Nile basin. Egypt may have been to the sea- 
kings of Crete and Mycenae what the Spanish Main was to Eliza- 
bethan England, or the British Isles and neighbouring coasts to 
the Northmen, In this latter case the settlement in Normandy 
would find a parallel in that of the Philistines (Pulesati) on the 
Palestinian coast, and perhaps also in that of the Mycenaean or 

C*A.H*I 13 


Cretan elements who seem to be included among the "Phoeni- 
cians* of the Syrian coast. 

Accordingly, the Greek tradition of the prominence of* 4 Red 
Men 9 (<t>oaafcs) in prehistoric times in Greece, and their intro- 
duction of the alphabet, and other signs of civilization, could be 
taken as a reference to the Cretans who, as we know, were the 
first to develop a script in the Aegean basin and to introduce it on 
the mainland of Greece. Similarly, too, the tales of Cadmus, 
Cecrops, Danaus and other foreigners, as coming from Phoenicia, 
or Egypt, and settling in Greece as the bearers of a higher type 
of civilization, could be again the echo of the gradual penetration 
and, partly too, colonization by 'IVtmoan' (as we may call them) 
chiefs and traders of parts of the Greek mainland* The Thucy- 
didean tradition of Minos the thalassocrat, the tales of the settle- 
ment of this island and of that by some son of Minos, of Theseus 
and the human tribute exacted from Athens, and the frequent 
occurrence of the place-name Minoa, all point in the same direc- 
tion, namely that civilization in the Aegean area began in Crete 
and spread northwards. When all this took place cannot yet be 
dated with even approximate accuracy. 

Greek traditional dates commonly based on genealogies for 
the reign of Minos, the Trojan War ? and other events all more or 
less legendary, do not entirely disagree with the dates to be 
deduced from Egyptian chronology through the medium of 
archaeological comparisons. One of the most important Greek 
documents giving traditional dates is the Marmor Parium, an 
inscription, found in Paros and now in Oxford, which gives, so 
far as it is preserved, a series of dates (based upon computation) 
for the principal events of Greek history both of heroic and of 
historic times. It dates from 2643 B - c * an d differs from other 
authorities in some of its figures, placing, for instance, the Fall of 
Troy at 12098 B,C, The works of Eratosthenes and Apollodorus 
as preserved in Eusebius, Suidas, and other late writers, also give 
important help, though naturally their authority is secondhand. 
Other traditional dates are given by Thucydides and Herodotus, 
who, with Diodorus and the Marmor Parium^ are the most trust- 
worthy sources* The royal genealogies given by Pausanias and 
others are of some assistance, though there is some ground for 
suspecting that they have been rationalized. 

From a comparison of these sources, then, we might hazard 
the following approximate chronology. We might date Cecrops 
between 1582 and 1556, Cadmus to 1313, Danaus to 1466, Pelops 
to 1283, Minos to 1229, while the Trojan War may probably be 


dated to r 19283, the Achaean settlement in Cyprus to 1 176, the 
Thessalian migration to 1 124, and place to about 1 104 the great 
Dorian invasion which really marks the end of the prehistoric age and 
of the marvellous Bronze-Age civilization of Greece and the begin- 
ning of the Iron Age. This would mean that, by the archaeological 
dates determined by the Egyptian evidence, the House of Pelops 
would have reigned at Mycenae during the Third Late Helladic 
period which was, as the recent excavations have shown, the time 
when Mycenae was at the very climax of its wealth and power. 

Following these lines we can observe a certain correspondence 
between Greek legend and tradition and the archaeological dates 
derived from Egypt; but as the traditions are naturally enough 
vague and often contradictory, the simple archaeological evidence 
should be preferred in any case of doubt, and there are unfortun- 
ately only too many. For instance, in transferring dates of the 
Minoan series into the Helladic series we are faced with the 
fundamental difficulty that there is only a general correspondence 
between the three series (Minoan, Cycladic and Helladic), each 
with its three periods (Early, Middle and Late). The Early 
periods at the beginning of the Bronze Age correspond, because 
it is clear from a comparison of the archaeological finds that these 
three areas were inhabited by peoples very much akin in culture, 
and at approximately about the same stage of progress towards 
civilization, though, through the impulse and perhaps coloniza- 
tion from early dynastic Egypt, Crete rapidly drew ahead of the 
other two. Beyond this statement it is impossible to go at present, 
nor can we date the Early Cycladic and Early Helladic periods by 
the Egyptian dynasties through the medium of Crete. 

In the Middle period we know from the Cretan polychrome 
ware found at Phylakopi in Melos that the Middle Cycladic and 
Middle Minoan periods were contemporary; but there is no certain 
connexion between the mainland and Crete at this time. There is, 
however, a class of pottery which is typical of the Middle Helladic 
period, and has been found at Phylakopi in the same stratum as the 
Cretan ware. We are thus enabled to correlate Middle Helladic 
aSid Middle Minoan periods, but it is impossible to date one de- 
finitely in terms of the other in the absence of direct contacts. For 
the late periods, with the spread of the Minoan and Mycenaean 
civilization all over the Greek area, and the great improvement in 
trade and communications, which seems to have marked this age, 
one can say with far less chance of inaccuracy that the first Late 
Helladic period is to all intents and purposes contemporaneous 
with Late Minoan L The progress of civilization to the final climax of 


the Bronze Age and the establishment,, apparently, of big centres of 
political power (for instance, at Cnossus and Mycenae) dominant 
over wide spheres of influence, produced a far greater unity in 
the culture of the different areas, and so give a surer basis for 
any attempt at chronology especially when, as we have seen, the 
contacts with Egypt at this time are so strong and numerous. 

When we turn to the remaining area, Thessaly, which is divided 
into four periods, we nd that here there are serious difficulties, 
for relations between this region and the south seem to have 
been few. At Corinth Thessalian pottery of the Second period has 
been found underlying pottery of the later Early Hellaclic period, 
at Orchomenus and Lianokladi Early Helladic pottery has been 
found above pottery of the First and Second Thessalian periods, 
and at Tsani Magoula in Thessaly some Early Helladic vase have 
been found in a stratum placed at the end of the Second period, 
The only other links are provided by pottery of Late Helladic I! 
and III periods found in Thessaly at the end of the Fourth period 
and by the discovery in strata only slightly anterior of a ware 
typical of the Middle Helladic age, which occurs however as late 
as Late Helladic II. From this one can say that the First Thessa- 
lian period is older than the Early Helladic, while the Second 
Thessalian period is partly contemporary with the Early Helladic, 
and the later part of the Fourth period is parallel with the Late 
Helladic age. More than this the archaeological evidence, so far 
available, will not bean It is therefore impossible at present to 
attempt to represent the Thessalian series in terms of any one of 
the others with any approach to accuracy, Further careful excava- 
tion is necessary. It is in fact only by careful excavation by well- 
trained observers, not to mention the proper study and publication 
of all material found in the past for full justice has not yet been 
done to many excavations in this way no less than in the future 
that we can hope for further light on the chronology of prehistoric 

For a comparative table of periods, see pp. 656 




dawn of continuous history breaks In that great region 
Ji which is the meeting-place of three continents each with its 
own physical, ethnical and even psychological characteristics. The 
region may be treated as a unit, although the several threads of 
the histories of the constituent portions often run independently 
and, indeed, must be handled separately if we would understand 
the development of the Ancient East. Interrelations both within 
and without can be recognized in prehistoric times; and although 
it happens that the development of Egypt can be traced back fur- 
ther than that of Babylonia and the rest of western Asia, at Anau 
in Turkestan, for example, there was a culture which may have 
been quite as ancient as that of Egypt (pp. 86, 91). But we must 
be guided by the nature of our material, and partly, also, by the 
necessity of finding the thread of history, and of determining the 
interconnexion of events. Thus, although Indo-Iranian and Mon- 
golian elements from time to time enter our field, India and China 
naturally lie outside our horizon. On the other hand, our present 
knowledge of early Asia Minor and the Aegean, scanty and dis- 
connected though it is, illumines later conditions when the actual 
historical material is more abundant and consecutive, and all the 
lands concerned in the great drama can be more clearly viewed 
and their parts more fairly estimated, 

Of this virtually homogeneous area the Semites are the central 
figures throughout the earlier developments. They have a per- 
manent interest because three religions have arisen among them 
and shaped the world's history. Of these Judaism and Christianity 
ate Palestinian, and are historically and otherwise closely associ- 
ated. They may be regarded as the last phases in the decay of the 
old Semitic culture. Later, after its death, Islam, the third religion,, 
arose in Arabia and rapidly spread west and east. The history of 
Islam frequently illustrates factors that have always operated In 
the east; and the different periods and aspects of Semitic history 
so explain each other, and such has been the similarity of geo- 
graphical, economic and other conditions, that it Is possible, with 


been governed from unexpected centres. Though nothing, per- 
haps, can be more barren than the Sinaltic peninsula, it & part of 
an area (the ancient Edom) which., owing to the trade-routes, had 
a political significance far beyond its own natural resources. North 
of the Hijaz, an oasis like el-Ola, which was the seat of a * South 
Semitic' colony, illustrates the part played by oases as seats of power 
or as stages in the passage of elements of culture from one end of 
the Semitic world to the other* The Palmyrene oasis, especially in 
the third century A.D., is an example of an extraordinarily powerful 
and wealthy state founded upon commerce. East of the Jordan rich 
states have arisen and enjoyed a short and brilliant career in spite 
of the ever-present risk of bedouin invasion. And, further north, 
Damascus itself, unprotected, and remote from natural trade- 
routes, still maintains itself as the most ancient of cities, and under 
the Omayyad Caliphs (vnth virith cent, A.D.) actually became the 
capital of a realm extending from India to Spain. Syria and Pales- 
tine, by reason of their geographical and historical circumstances, 
are the meeting-ground of different peoples and civilizations. They 
have been the object of conflicting ambitions and policies for some 
four millennia, and may thus be said to surpass in historical interest 
the other 'Semitic 7 lands. 

The problem of this term now becomes acute. The term c Se- 
mite f is more convenient than accurate, and is derived from Shem, 
a son of Noah, the hero of the Deluge (Gen. ix xi). In an elaborate 
genealogical table many divisions of the world as formerly known 
are traced back to Noah's three sons, with the result that each 
division stands in some more or less intelligible relationship to the 
rest. This method of reckoning geographical, ethnical or political 
divisions has always been in vogue and recurs, for example, in 
Hesiod's genealogy of 'Hellen' (the Hellenes), the son of Deu- 
calion (also the hero of a Deluge), who is the father of Dorus 
(Dorians), Aeolus (Aeolians), and Xuthus, the father of Ion (lon- 
ians) and Achaeus (Achaeans). Precisely what was believed at the 
time when these chapters were written is uncertain. They embody 
at least two groups of traditions and, according to the older, Noah 
was not connected with the story of the Deluge, but was the firs** 
to make wine, and so mitigate the curse of agricultural toil (Gen. 
v, 29; ix, 20 sqq^). The narrative in its original form told how 
Canaan was cursed and condemned to be the servant of Shem, 
whereas Japheth is very favourably recognized as Shem's protegcS. 
The genealogy represents Canaan as the * father' of certain Phoeni- 
cian cities and of Heth, the latter being not necessarily the Hittites 
of Asia Minor, but later offshoots in Palestine. Canaan's territory 

V,i] THE 'SONS' OF SHEM 185 

is from Sidon to south Palestine and the east of the Dead Sea; and 
it includes the Amorites and other peoples who are regularly 
spoken of as pre-Israelite. The identity of Japheth is obscure, but 
Shem is the ancestor of Eber (^ebher} i.e. of the Hebrews (VMm;z) 
who is the father of Peleg (division) and of Joktan, the 'father* 
of certain Arabian groups. As Yahweh (the * Jehovah' of the Eng- 
lish Bible) 1 is explicitly called the God of Shem (ix, 26), he is not 
god of Israel alone (cf. similarly iv 5 26), even as the Hebrews are 
evidently regarded as more extensive than Israel. But in the later 
source. Ham, who is here Noah's son, is the * father 5 of Cush 
(Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Canaan, and other names; the divi- 
sions of Japheth belong to the northern zone as far as Greece; and 
Shem seems to have another meaning* Shem's divisions include 
Elam (east of Babylonia), Assyria, Aram (with relationships in the 
south) and Lud (apparently Lydia). Shem, accordingly, extends 
along the great ancient post-road between Susa and Sardes (Herod, 
v, 52). The whole scheme is broadly geographical, and recognizes 
three zones, Japheth in the north, Ham in the south, and Shem in 
the centre. This scheme has takenToot, and in the *Book of Jubilees * 
(shortly before the Christian era) it was developed further in ac- 
cordance with later knowledge, and it is observed that the land of 
Japheth is cold, that of Ham is hot and that of Shem is a blend. 
The foundation of Babylonia and Assyria is ascribed to Nimrod, 
son of Cush; but the Cushite divisions are unmistakably Arabian 
(they include the Sabaeans, who are otherwise ascribed to Shem's 
descendant Joktan), and it is uncertain whether Ethiopian immi- 
grants were supposed to pass eastwards into Babylonia, whether 
there was a Cush in Arabia, or whether there has been some con- 
fusion with the ancient dynasty of Kish (p. 365) or with the Kass- 
ite immigrants from the north (p. 552). In any event the table can- 
not be strictly linguistic^ because the Phoenicians, whose language 
differs only dialectically from Hebrew, and is related to Assyrian, 
are ascribed to Ham; and even though Phoenicia was from early 
times culturally connected with Egypt, this cannot be said of 
the Hittites, with whom Phoenicia is also associated. Moreover, 
"Lydian and Elamite were linguistically different from each other 
and from. Semitic. Feelings of relationship can express themselves 
in genealogical form and differently at different times; hence 

1 In order to avoid pronouncing the Divine Name (perhaps originally 
Yahweh) the Jews replaced it by j4donfiy y "lord/ the vowels of which were 
subsequently introduced into the consonants (T[or JJ-h-vfor wj-h). Early 
Christian scholars, misunderstanding this ? as early as the fourteenth century 
A,a>. ? gave currency to the impossible form which has since become familiar. 


Shem may have had diverging meanings, just as was the case with 
Amor (the Amorites), Heth (the Hittites), and many ^another 
name. As regards its precise meaning in the narratives in Genesis 
we must be guided by the fact that our sources now represent the 
standpoint of a people which ascribes itself to Sheni, and feels 
firmly settled among alien groups viz. Canaan to whom there 
is the keenest antipathy. While dominating Canaan it graciously 
receives the alien Japheth of the north. The people whose god is 
Yahweh admits the closest kinship with the desert; and elsewhere 
the genealogies and traditions closely associate Abraham with 
northern Mesopotamia, and with Aramaean and Arabian groups. 
There is also a hint of some * division * (viz. Peleg) whereby the 
southern and Joktanite Arabs were severed from some 'son* of 
Eber, the ancestor of the Hebrews (see p. 233 sy.*). 

What history lies beneath this remains uncertain owing to the 
difficulty of dating the biblical traditions and of determining their 
precise reference. But in so far as they point to some separation, 
and some intrusion of a stock with desert kinship among an older 
settled people, they correspond to a typical process. Moreover, 
the desert stocks, especially of Arabia, have always remained rela- 
tively primitive, and the Arabic language in particular has also 
been regarded as typically Semitic. Indeed, the Semitic languages 
have retained throughout all time (except in Africa) their most 
distinctive features, and this persistence corresponds to that of a 
certain temperament which is best seen among the desert-peoples. 
The facts have led to the theory of Arabia as the original home of 
the Semites and of the Arabian (bedouin) mind as the representa- 
tive of Semitic thought. The theory deserves attention because it 
is often used as a key to the interpretation of the development of 
Semitic history and culture. 

The best-known Semitic languages are the Akkadian (some- 
times used as a convenient term for the practically identical Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian dialects), Canaanite (a term to include Phoeni- 
cian, Hebrew, Moabite, etc.), Aramaean (Syriac, etc*), and South 
Arabian (Minaean and Sabaean). Their close interrelation resembles 
that among the members of the Romance or of the Teutonic sub-** 
divisions of the Indo-European family. But the linguistic, ethnical 
and cultural boundaries are not similar. Semitic languages have 
been adopted by invaders (Kassites, Philistines, etc.); Armenians 
and Jews despite a noteworthy physical similarity spoke entirely 
distinct languages; and, notwithstanding constant Intercourse 
between Syria and Asia Minor, no Semitic language was spoken 
to any considerable extent or for long in Cilicia or elsewhez-e. In 


more senses than one the Semitic languages come between Indo- 
Europe*an and Hamitic (Egyptian, etc.). They have noteworthy 
points of contact with the latter, they share with both the distinc- 
tion of gender (there is however no neuter in Semitic and Egyp- 
tian), but they have no evident relationship with the former or 
with any non-Hamitic tongue. Semitic is characterized by the 
possession of peculiar gutturals, triconsonantal roots with regular 
vocal changes., affixes and suffixes to express modification of the 
stem-meaning {MeLeK king, MaLKenu our king, hiMLtK he 
caused to rule, maMLaKah kingdom), only two tense-forms 5 
peculiar case-relations, and an extreme rarity of compounds (ex- 
cept in proper names which are often sentences). But Semitic both 
influenced the strange agglutinative Sumerian and was influenced 
by it, Jews and Syrians adopted and naturalized Greek loan-words > 
and Persian words passed into Arabic and were adapted to its own 
peculiar structure. On the other hand, Arabic has exercised a re- 
markable influence upon African languages, and the strangest 
blends have arisen when, as in Amharic, Hamitic tribes have 
modified Semitic to their modes of thought and expression. Very 
drastic changes thus ensue; and as there have often been move- 
ments from south-west Asia into Egypt and Abyssinia, the factors 
that can be recognized in historical times may also have operated 
before our history begins. See pp. 25^, 261 and above p. 28* 

While Semitic is characteristically triliteral, Egyptian contains 
several familiar Semitic words (for mouth 3 water, etc.) which are 
not of triliteral origin. And not only are there some indications of 
a primary biliteral monosyllabic stage in Semitic, but an ultimate 
linguistic connexion has even been claimed although the evi- 
dence is not convincing between Semitic and Sumerian. In any 
case, if we go back far enough there was a period before Semitic ' 
became what we call Semitic, though it does not follow that there 
was a single Egypto-Semitic language which afterwards bifurcated 
(p. 255). So also, there must obviously have been a time before 
the separate leading languages acquired their distinctive characters 
even as Amharic has grown up and is supplanting other lan- 
guages although we cannot therefore postulate one single Se- 
mitic stock from which the rest have differentiated. Such questions 
lie outside history, but they are very important for our ideas of 
what really characterizes Semitic and the Semites, and for the 
further question whether the earliest or most primitive features 
are therefore the most typical. 

The Babylonian is the first Semitic language of which we have 
any knowledge; it is not primitive, but has a lengthy philological 


development behind it. By the middle of the third millennium 
B.C. the existence of Canaanite can be assumed. The numerous 
inscriptions of the southern Semites (Minaeans, Sabaeans, etc.), 
which belong to the first millennium B.C., contain some noteworthy 
points of contact with Babylonian and with the Canaanite (or 
rather the so-called 'Amorite') of about 2100. Babylonian, after 
becoming by the fifteenth century a language of diplomacy in 
Egypt and south-west Asia, was gradually replaced by Aramaic, 
the lingua franca of the Persian empire, which ultimately drove 
Hebrew into the Rabbinical schools and was used even by Arabs* 
Meanwhile, the old Arabian language of the inscriptions remained 
relatively unchanged throughout many centuries, a fact which sug- 
gests a firm literary hieratical tradition. It had died out by about 
A.D. 5003 when the 'pre-Islamic* period begins (500622); and 
finally Aramaic almost entirely disappeared, and a later form of 
Arabic became the common language. 

By classical Arabic is understood that language,, spoken in central 
and northern Arabia, which, through Mohammed, the Koran and 
Islam, became a sacred tongue and one of the principal languages 
of the world. It preserves many forms which have developed or 
decayed in the cognate languages; and although the documents are 
almost modern compared with Babylonian the language is relatively 
ancient, like Lithuanian among the Indo-European languages* It is 
not truly primitive, nor is it the sole ancestor of the modern dia- 
lects; the older extinct Arabic (Minaean, etc,) was in some respects 
more primitive, and has left a few traces In certain modern dialects 
(in south Arabia), while others betray the Influence of Aramaean. 
Besides, it is to be remembered that classical Arabic had not been 
the only Arabic current in Arabia, Hence it cannot be regarded 
as necessarily representing the earliest form of Semitic, and one 
must not assume that Babylonian and Canaanite, which are his- 
torically earlier, and preserve certain archaic forms, go back to 
some prehistoric language resembling the 'classical' Arabic. It is 
true that the later Arabian dialects underwent vicissitudes analo- 
gous to those that can be presumed In the development of the 
older languages themselves* It is also possible to observe the factor,, 
that restrict the decay of one dialect or give new prominence to 
another. But, in general, the history of the Semitic languages, like 
that of the Semites and of their culture, proves to be more complex 
than has been thought; and one must avoid the mistake, made by 
the Semites themselves, of unduly simplifying the data and of 
assuming regular relationships and developments. 

The most essential fact is that the desert is the home of nomads 


or semi-nomads who from time to time thrust themselves into the 
settled districts and replenish the population. The desert itself is 
monatonous and the conditions remain the same in spite of re- 
curring change. Its occupants have preserved certain character- 
istics which seem to be typical; and even at the present day the 
bedouin will speak a dialect purer and more archaic than that of 
the townsman. But it does not follow that a language is best pre- 
served where it originated, or that the Semitic language and the 
Semites 'originated 7 in the desert. The history of the rise of Islam 
itself shows how certain definite historical circumstances brought 
'classical Arabic* to the front; it was the result of a new movement 
after a period of decay, unrest and transition. It was a new growth 
in an old cradle. But how Semitic arose and what caused the very 
marked cleavage between the south Semites (Arabia, Ethiopia) 
and the rest can hardly be conjectured. 

There is a similar cleavage between the * North* and the * South* 
Semitic alphabets. They are ultimately related to one another and 
to the parent of the European scripts. In contrast to the cuneiform 
writing (p, 126) and to secondary developments in south Semitic 
(Ethiopia, etc.), the Semitic script was wholly consonantal* The 
* North* Semitic alphabet begins to divide (in the eighth century 
B.C.) into Canaanite (Phoenician, Old Hebrew, Samaritan, etc.) and 
Aramaean branches, at about the time when the Aramaean inscrip- 
tions of North Syria are neither pure Canaanite nor pure Aramaic. 
The origin and date of the common alphabet are still uncertain. 
Derivations have been sought in every conceivable quarter, but 
the old theory of an Egyptian origin is again favoured, owing to 
the remarkable characters found at the mines worked by the 
Egyptians at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinaitic peninsula (? c. 1500 
B.C.) 1 * Yet, Sumerian parallels have also been found for both the 
forms and the sounds. In any case, the Phoenicians can no longer 
be credited with the invention of writing. It is, however, known 
that they were importing papyrus from Egypt about noo B.C., 
and It may well be that the Semitic alphabet, like the Semitic lan- 
guages and culture, was the result of a native, Independent fusion 
of external and non-Semitic influences. Such * Semitization * is, at 
all events, entirely characteristic* 

In spite of numerous minor differences, natural among peoples 
living under different conditions, there has been a persistence of 
language, thought and custom, even as there has been one of 
physical type, despite movements of population. These movements 
are important for history* There are regular seasonal movements^ 
1 A. H. Gardiner, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology ', 1916, vol m. 


often over large areas, in search of pasturage; and although tribal 
names familiar at one period are often lost at another, when new 
ones will appear. Sir George Adam Smith found the Beni Mesaid 
pitching their summer camp east of Jordan where a Greek inscrip- 
tion of A.D. 214 still records the presence of a nomad tribe of the 
same name (<uX/*? McaieSip>coz'). Tribes have also escaped into 
Egypt or out of it. But, above all, *upon Arabia nature has be- 
stowed few gifts beyond that of breeding men/ and tribes, driven 
by bad seasons, famine, increase of population, pressure or lust of 
conquest constantly drive against the fertile districts, wedge them- 
selves in, or expel the settlers and destroy all fertility and culture. 
The Decapolis represented a Greek league to keep the bedouins 
out, and the Romans played off the invading tribes one against the 
other and built forts to ward off the invaders. Besides, the invari- 
ably heavy death-rate of the towns is only counterbalanced by a 
constant infiltration of the peasantry. There are many gradations 
from the pure nomad to the settled agriculturist; and even nomad 
traders have been capable of inaugurating dynasties scarcely more 
ephemeral than many of those of more settled lands. Such move- 
ments as are known are typical. The great Islamic movement and 
the entry of Israel into the 'Promised Land* are not without lesser 
parallels. The Moabite Adwan believe that they came from Arabia 
some ten generations ago, and the Jafnites (Ghassanids) were said 
to have journeyed from Yemen about the first century A*D. Earlier 
still, about the middle of the first millennium B.C., another im- 
portant movement can be faintly traced, contemporary with the 
decay of the great empires of Egypt and west Asia. The religious 
wars of Islam, and Israel's debt to Sinai, Horeb and to the Arabian 
kin of Moses, illustrate the influence of the south; but some im- 
portant influences have flowed from the north. The Arabs them- 
selves received many elements of culture from the Aramaic- 
speaking tribes of the north; Greeks, Persians and Jews have 
exercised political and cultural influence over south Arabia, and 
a physical relationship has been traced between the south Arabians 
(as distinct from the bedouins) and the Armenoid types of the 
north. The biblical accounts of Shem, Eber, Abraham and Jacob 
point to the north and to a southward movement of Aramaeans; 
and the Aramaeans were apparently responsible for the collapse 
of Solomon's great empire. 

Although there has been no diffusion of Semites analogous to 
that of the Indo-Europeans, the spread of Islam is only an extreme 
example of its kind. The influence of the trading Phoenicians with 
their colonies in the Mediterranean and Atlantic can hardly be 


calculated. Carthage then, and Morocco more recently* are speci- 
mens of what Semitic influence could achieve on congenial soil. 
Of tjje south Arabians, also great traders, and with communica- 
tions with Africa and India, only little is known. The Jews, though 
hardly a sea-faring people, traded successfully on land, and their 
settlements and synagogues paved the way for Christianity, in the 
spread of which Syrians travelled eastwards as far as China, and 
were the forerunners of Mohammedan traders and missionaries, 
(It is difficult to determine the precise share of Phoenicians and 
Aramaeans in spreading the European and north Semitic forms 
of the one common ancestral alphabet in the west and east respec- 
tively.) Syrians in the west were merchants, musicians, slaves, and 
carriers of oriental cults. So also, the c Chaldeans' astrologers 
and diviners succeeded in making their own name a synonym 
for impostor. Going further back, we find a Semitic colony at the 
mines of Kara Euyuk in Cappadocia, by the twenty-first century 
B.C.; and, in addition to the relationship between Assyrian art and 
Phrygia (seventh century), and between Assyria and Lydia, there 
are old traditions of * white Syrians* of Cappadocia, and, as we 
have already seen, Shem/s genealogy extends from Blam and 
Assyria to Lydia. Moreover, there was a Minoan sea-power long 
before the Phoenicians are named in history; * Byblus-farers ' plied 
in the Levant, and there was frequent intercourse between the 
Phoenician coast and the Delta. Hence the people we call * Phoeni- 
cians ' are strictly the heirs of an old-established system of inter- 
course, and the Tyrian sea-power itself was only one of a succes- 
sion of thalassocracies. How much intercourse and movement lie 
outside our records must of course be entirely conjectural. It is at 
least certain that the * Semitic* world was no secluded one. There 
were periods almost cosmopolitan, notably in the * Amarna' period 
(see pp 152, 177, 312, 569), and again, later, under the Persians. 
A vivid picture of Phoenician traffic is given in EzekiePs descrip- 
tion of Tyre (ch. xxvii); and when Jerusalem was 'the gate of the 
people* (ib. xxvi, 2) we see how commercial activities could give 
wealth and influence to cities that were fortunately situated or were 
centres of government (cf. also Mecca, Medina and Palmyra). 

South-west Asia and north-east Africa have many points of 
contact; Abyssinian and negroid elements are found in south 
Arabia, and noteworthy ethnical and sociological relationships 
have been observed between the Semitic and African popula- 
tions. The * wilderness of the land of Egypt* was the scene 
of the wanderings of the tribes of Israel (Ezek. xx, 36), and, 
conversely, one of the Egyptian nomes was later called Arabia. 


Yet, the Semites belong essentially to Asia and have been 
mainly influenced from the north; and Egypt hardly "became 
truly * Semitic' until the collapse of her old distinctive culture and 
the conquest by the Mohammedans, It was always difficult for 
Asia to hold Egypt, and Egypt was ever ready to conspire with 
the Levant against the East, In the north the Semites were unable 
to make any lasting impression upon Asia Minor: "so soon as the 
land-level of northern Syria attains a mean altitude of 2500 feet, 
the Arab tongue is chilled to silence > (Hogarth). Not the Semites, 
but only the north-country Turks could hold it definitely; while, 
on the other hand, peoples passing into the Semitic area have com- 
monly undergone a process of *Semitization.* The Semite and the 
invading Sumerian exchanged religious, literary, and other ele- 
ments of culture. Similarly, Elamites and Kassites were Semitized, 
and some strange blends are found in the mountain districts. 
Fierce racial difference did not prevent the Persians from being 
true Mohammedans after a few generations; and the debt of the 
Semites to the Persian, most obvious under the Abbasid Caliphs 
of Baghdad, is recognizable earlier in the days of the Achaemenid 
Persians, and can be suspected at some other periods. Mongols, 
Turks, and Persians often seem to become more Semitic than the 
Semites; and when, as in early times, religious and other aspects 
of culture tended to form a single system, assimilation was easier, 
and conquerors were conquered. Through the Hittites, Kassites, 
Mitannians, Philistines to mention no more the Semitic area 
was seemingly impregnated with foreign influences. But it showed 
an astonishing receptivity, and an ability to assimilate; although 
sometimes the influence was not so deep as it appeared, or there 
were most remarkable syncretisms which, however, hardly took 
root among the simpler classes. The fact remains that the blood 
of the peasantry has always determined the type, and foreign ele- 
ments tended to disappear in the process -in the words of Robert- 
son Smith : ' One of the most palpable proofs that the populations 
of all the old Semitic lands possessed a remarkable homogeneity 
of character is the fact that in them, and in them alone, the Arabs 
and Arab influence took permanent root/ 

By a bold generalization the attempt has sometimes been mad* 
to view the entire history of the Semitic area as the result of suc- 
cessive waves of nomad Semites migrating from a 'home' in the 
deserts of Arabia owing to overcrowding, desiccation or some 
other natural cause. In this way five epochs have been distin- 
guished, the latest being the Mohammedan movement of the 
seventh century A.D* The first invasion would date about the 


fourth millennium B.C., occupying Mesopotamia and North Syria. 
About tfte middle of the third millennium will come the Canaan- 
ites a^id a modification ('Amorite') of the "Semitic element in 
Mesopotamia. A thousand years later the Aramaean wave, a vast 
movement, brings the Hebrew and related peoples (Edom, Moab 
and Ammon), and fills the north as far as the Taurus mountains. 
Again, after another millennium, a fourth, invasion is responsible 
for the Nabataeans and for later settlers, e.g. the Lakhmids and 
Ghassanids of the east and west respectively. All theories of this 
sort, however, while in accordance with many facts,, give too 
schematic a view of the movements; and, in endeavouring to sim- 
plify complex processes of ethnical history, they follow the mistake 
of the old-time historians themselves who, as exemplified in the 
biblical narratives, tried to simplify the traditions at their dis- 
posal. The theories are largely influenced by linguistic considera- 
tions, whereas, at present, enough is not known of the early Se- 
mitic languages to base historical arguments upon the character 
of each. 

Although the tendency of desert tribes to move into the * fertile 
crescent' is exceedingly significant for Semitic history, there are 
repeated influences from without and to the south no less signifi- 
cant. By the Semites we may understand the homogeneous group 
of Semitic-speaking peoples occupying a definite area which has 
retained a certain stamp. What is 'Semitic' is not necessarily of 
single or simple origin, for nowhere do we reach the absolutely 
primitive Semite; and we have to look, not for the most rudimen- 
tary features, but for the most typical and persistent. Now, some 
interpreters of Semitic history have been impressed by the relative 
primitiveness of Arabian life and thoxight, and the * Arabian home' 
of the Semites; others by the antiquity, solidarity and widespread 
influence of a culture best exemplified in Babylonia. The rudeness 
and simplicity of bedouin conditions are thus weighed against a 
culture which was apparently homogeneous among all the great 
ancient powers, and presumably left its mark upon all intervening 
districts. But the alternatives between the simple, unchanging 
fcedouin and the complex and long-extinct culture of Mesopotamia 
have been stated too rigorously. We have rather to recognize that 
certain psychological and other tendencies, which have taken in- 
choate and primitive forms among rudimentary tribes, have be- 
come more developed, though less permanent, among the more 
highly organized; and that they appear to be responsible for new 
creative periods and the rise of new political organisms. See 
p. 38 sy. 

C. A.H.I *3 



Among the factors that have conditioned the course of Somitic 
history may be mentioned the marked differences of soil, the irre- 
gularities of climate, the broken character of Syria and Palestine, 
the inhospltallty of the desert (whereby the bedouin often lives In 
alternating periods of semi-starvation and surfeit), the social differ- 
ences in town-life, and the varieties of thought due to the con- 
tiguity of different social and ethnical types. Although the per- 
sistence of typical forms of life and thought has made the 'un- 
changeable East* a truism, conspicuous differences of character 
can often be noticed in different villages and tribes. A very Im- 
portant factor, however., has been the influence of foreigners. 
Egypt, Crete, Asia Minor, and, above all, Iran., have exercised an 
Influence which, In the case of the last-mentioned. Is incalculable. 
The proximity of Indo-Europeans, the easy gateways, and the re- 
currence at one time or another of Indo-European personal names 
from Lake Van to south Palestine combine to suggest possibilities 
of fusion such that the separation of what is and what Is not Se- 
mitic may well seem hopeless. At all events, it is noteworthy that 
Aramaic, which was used and spoken In the northern part of the 
Semitic area, and was therefore nearer to Indo-European influence, 
is a much more flexible language than Hebrew or Arabic, and 
lends itself more readily to the interconnexion and subordination 
of sentences and of ideas. 

On the other hand, there is a typical similarity of life and 
thought throughout the desert-lands of Syria and Arabia, and also 
of north Africa. A relatively primitive type prevails outside the 
influence of more developed and complex forms of life, and it 
becomes more prominent at certain creative periods, notably at 
the rise of Islam, but also during the history of Israel. It does not 
follow that the primitive features represent some primeval type of 
Semitic thought; for Islam,, too, like the Arabic language itself, 
betrays the influence of earlier and more developed growths. Biit 
there are certain modes and processes which recur at the great 
creative periods and are more rudimentary among the simple anct 
undeveloped classes, and these persisting and formative factors 
may be considered characteristic of the Semites. 

The pure and bracing desert air stimulates the faculties, and 
gives a lively consciousness of health and vigour* It breeds energy, 
enthusiasm, and aggressiveness. Courageous, furious in attack, 
contemptuous of death, the Semites are better in skirmishes and 
raids than in prolonged attack; they are soon discouraged, and, 


outside the Assyrian and Carthaginian conquests, organizing power 
is rare. More intent upon ends than means they have no base for 
operations, no lines of communication, and they anticipate short 
cuts to success. But they can meet defeat and misfortune with 
resignation, await a proverbial forty years for revenge, and they 
pass easily from extremes of optimism and confidence to pessimism 
and despair. They have been called superficial, vain, aristocratic, 
and swift to feel humiliation* The heroic virtues of the warriors 
were group-loyalty, self-sacrifice, defiance of the strong foe and 
protection of the weak kinsman. But the horizon is a small one. 
Tribal or family pride readily conquers civic or national loyalty, 
and is a disintegrating factor when nomads take to settled life. The 
personal or tribal interest is all-compelling; but the bravest 
deeds are often Isolated, or of no social value. The individual easily 
reacts to personal appeal, emotion has the last word; his fancy and 
imagination can be stirred less readily his intellect. Personal feel- 
ing is the source of action, not commonsense, or plan, or morality. 
A personal claim is recognized, and there is admiration for any 
manifestation of personal power and ability as distinct from its 
ethical value or its consequences. Ideas of lordship, power and 
control have a fascination, and here again ethical distinctions are 

The older Semitic languages are simple, direct, immediate, and 
'without the particles and auxiliaries which unite phrases and give 
suppleness to the Indo-European languages. The syntax is simple; 
sentences are statements with little subordination, although Ara- 
bic, and more especially Aramaic, are decidedly freer. But it must 
be remembered that at the more rudimentary stages, and among 
simpler peoples, there is everywhere a certain syntactical resem- 
blance, so that colloquial English and Egyptian non-literary papyri 
approximate to Hebrew usage and the frequent *and* of the Fourth* 
Gospel. Though Semitic ideas may be limited and undeveloped, 
the languages have a much richer vocabulary than might be 
imagined, e.g. from the restricted character of Hebrew and Syriac 
literature. Hebrew itself is poor in abstracts, but rich in concrete, 
^sensuous imagery; though it does not follow that every concept 
conveyed what its most literal meaning might suggest. Its direct- 
ness and concreteness give the Old Testament its persisting appeal 
to the senses and feelings; it incorporates the thought of an emo- 
tional, self-conscious and observant people at a simple stage of 
development. Later, both Hebrew and Arabic were extended and 
used for abstruse and scientific topics, though Syriac was content 
to borrow the necessary terms. A characteristic feature is the ease 

13 a 


with which the individual passes from one standpoint or picture 
to another. Thus., the conditional proposition may consist of two 
distinct mental pictures, the juxtaposition of which causes <*hern 
mutually to determine each other, Again, impending or future 
events can be regarded as actually present; conditions and results 
can be associated, and what was once future (from some past 
standpoint) can be regarded as still unaccomplished. The tenses 
in Hebrew hardly express time from our point of view, but rather 
states of development; and the language is dominated by the action 
and reaction of living ideas and the judgment of the speaker. The 
Indo-European scheme of three distinct time-periods (past, present 
and future) is not expressed, although even in the old Babylonian 
the Semitic * imperfect J was slightly differentiated in order to dis- 
tinguish what we call present and preterite. 

Not only does the Semite's appreciation of time in events and 
actions colour his general historical perspective, but disconnected- 
ness and love of bold imagery are manifested in many forms. The 
poetry is intensely realistic. No figure is too bold, and even the 
mysticism is not vague. In common with the love of eloquence, 
rhetoric and the use of sonorous and striking words, these char- 
acteristics can easily become wearisome when they are overdone, 
Hebrew poetry, though deeper and richer than that of the Arabs, 
was intensely subjective, and sublime rather than beautiful. There 
is in general a love of practical and epigrammatic brevity. Led 
away by personal interest the individual is terse, inconsequential 
and frequently indifferent to discrepancies irrelevant for his pur- 
pose, but perhaps not for ours. Alike in the Hebrew prophets and 
in Mohammed's Koran we have enthusiasm, eloquence and imagi- 
nation rather than logical exactness, sustained thought and sweep- 
ing comprehension. Guided by the impulse and feeling of the 
moment, the language is elliptical, representing a series of emo- 
tional states which require elaborate expositions to understand and 
co-ordinate them, 

The thought does not proceed step-wise, nor is it detached or 
objective. There is too much earnestness or obsession for that. 
There are no half-tones nothing between love or hate, one might" 
almost add; and even in the developed legal code of the Babylonian 
king, Hammurabi, actions are either right or wrong. Things to be 
of any interest must be of deep personal interest, and passion then 
generates a feeling of human relationship even with the inanimate. 
The whole of nature is subordinated, the universe blends with 
personal conviction., and there is an * immediacy' in conceptions 
of God and Nature, in contrast to a detached or scientific view 


of things. This profound consciousness and this depth of feeling 
give the Old Testament its religious value. In contrast to the un- 
impassioned and intellectual admiration of the Greek for grandeur 
and beauty, the sensuous Semite must possess them for himself. 
Religious truths are apprehended as personal necessities. They 
are ends in themselves. There is no creativeness or originality, the 
'poets' are not the 'makers' that their Greek name means. There 
is reshaping rather than a constructive or reproductive ability, 
symbolism rather than plasticity. With all the keen observation of 
Man and Nature there is no apprehension of a great or united 
whole: the unity is of subjective feeling and purpose rather than 
of composition, or of analysis and synthesis* 

The desert stimulates the nerves, but the mind starves. There 
is much to feed fancy, little to encourage discursive thought. 
Interests are few, a man has his ends in himself and carries his 
world with him. But life is a fight; one must be heedful, and every- 
thing is ominous. So, there can be no repose, and the self-control 
of the bedouin is apt to be an affectation, a truce, or a prelude to 
some sudden explosion. The nomad does not need many goods, 
he has the simplest categories : there is no wealth of social detail 
to en courage or compel speculation. The simple patriarchal organi- 
zation of life is his pattern of thought. Moreover, desert-life does 
not promote social stability. It throws men back upon themselves; 
and self-consciousness brings out the contrast between the poor 
degenerate types, whose only conscience is a self-discontent, and 
those nobler, aristocratic, if pagan, types which at once arouse our 
admiration. It has been said that the Arabs of the classical period 
and their descendants, the bedouins of the present day, are 
perhaps one of the races most untouched by the solemnities of 
religious awe that have ever existed (Sir Charles Lyall). Certainly, 
their poems will breathe a 'pagan' passionate love of life (cf. 
also David's Lament in 2 Samuel, dbu i); and it is, in any case, one 
of the paradoxes of the Semites that they have given the world 
its greatest religious geniuses. 

The religious and other aspects of life are not distinguished as 
among more developed peoples. This relatively less differentiated 
stage of development makes the study of Semitic life and thought 
one of absorbing interest. Religion and ethics, social, political and 
religious institutions formed more or less a whole. Consequently 
religion has played a really unique part in Semitic history, and 
Semitic religion is important for developments which we are accus- 
tomed to consider outside the sphere of religion. The Semites 
breed men of tremendous personality, men who hold the world 


within them and feel themselves anyone's equal. Impetuous and 
imperious they rush at difficulties; and, although they are normally 
unadventurous, they outstrip, when aroused, their racial rivak, but 
rarely leave heirs. 

Mohammed transformed a tendency already represented by a 
few, and as a single individual perhaps did more than any other 
to shape history. The main lines of his doctrines developed those 
familiar in Judaism, and his conception of God is essentially that 
of the Old Testament, Christianity began as a Jewish sect amid 
new religious tendencies in which Jews played the most prominent 
part. Judaism itself is of uncertain origin tradition ascribed it to 
Moses, earlier to Abram^and the worship of Yahweh is even said to 
begin with Enosh, the grandson of Adam, the first man (see further 
p. 235)0 But it owed its persistence and renewal to the Maccabees 
(second century B.C.), and to earlier prophetical or other figures, 
some of them quite unknown* Yet the religion of Israel, indebted 
to Sumerian, Iranian and other non-Semitic influences,, is essen- 
tially one with the other Semitic religions, although reformers and 
transformers wrought the essential spiritual differences that mark 
it out from the rest. In their broad outlines all the Semitic religions 
are the natural expression of the Semitic temper and modes of 
thought. Characteristic are the simplicity, directness, exclusiveness 
and intensity which give them a seeming monotheistic trend. True 
monotheism, however, is rare Yahweh himself gave objects of 
worship to the heathen (Deut, iv, 1 9) and the temporary or con- 
sistent worship of one god above all others and to their exclusion is 
'henotheism* or *monolatry.' Further, even when only one god is 
recognized, the question of his ethical and moral character and 
of his functions is vital. There is a vast difference between a psycho- 
logical monotheism (as where the god filled the entire emotional 
life of his worshipper) and one that is metaphysical and involves 
theoretical problems of causation which, needless to say, the 
Semites did not consider. 

The belief in demoniacal and other agencies persisted under 
Judaism, even as it had flourished amid Sumerian polytheism. In 
point of fact, polytheism prevailed over the Semitic world; but^ 
every man was at least a potential henotheist and the god addressed 
might be unique for the time being, A social organization with 
polygamy and easy divorce could hardly foster ideas of undivided 
loyalty; on the other hand, political organization tending towards 
a single, supreme head caused ideas of monotheism and of mon- 
archy to flow together, and to the great and only ruler of the land 
would correspond one great and only god. But a monotheism 


which. Is simply a single government of the universe Is not as such 
of a very exalted order. Co-ordinating and synthesizing processes, 
Identifying gods or reducing their number, and simplifying ideas 
of divine or supernatural powers, were repeatedly at work, but 
there was no conception of a philosophical or metaphysical unity. 
Yet everywhere there Is a vague colourless and Inchoate feeling of 
*God* even in the polytheistic code of Hammurabi; and although 
It often defies formulation, It is the God then and there felt, who 
can sometimes be identified with some known and named god. 
Hence, although the religious Indifference of the bedouin is 
notorious, this El (Bab. ilu] Is a supreme feeling into which reason 
hardly enters, although It is the source of the explicit doctrines of 
the more developed communities. In general, the bedouin accepts 
the * superstitions' of the settled people, and, among the latter, the 
monotheizing (i.e. unifying) tendencies are constantly at war with 
the more developed Ideas of the prevailing civilization. 

Semitic monotheism is a passionate demand rather than the 
result of reflection. The remarkable monotheism of the Egyptian 
king Ikhnaton (fourteenth century BX,) was explicitly a * doctrine'; 
it broke with the anthropomorphism of the people, and was in 
turn broken by the popular or national cult* Nor was the Semitic 
conception of divine * holiness' necessarily ethical, It might be that 
of some transcending and tremendous energy utterly outside 
human power. We should notice the prominence of gods of sun, 
storm, thunder and lightning, and the recurrence of catastrophic 
and destructive Imagery. Moreover, prophecy and madness, 
ecstasy and raving, were admittedly Interrelated. Men and women 
devoted to licentious religious cults were 'holy* or * sacred* the 
difficulty of translating such terms is obvious (see p. 538 ^.)^ an d 
even with a God of Righteousness' the great gift of Israel to the 
world practical religion and ethics had to ask, What constitutes 
righteousness, and Who is a man's neighbour? There was no 
Necessity' to which even a Zeus was subordinate: the Deity is all 
In all. He Is true to His character, and all further practical ques- 
tions were answered by the practical behaviour of the Semite, 
whose religious, social and political ideas tended to form an in- 
divisible whole. The intense feeling of the immediacy of a super- 
sensuous realm was a force driving every man according to his 
temper and leading men to good or evil. There is the keenest 
desire to maintain the dogma of divine supremacy; but the indi- 
vidual is the interpreter, vessel or representative. Yet, an impass- 
able gulf severs gods and men, and woe to those who dare to set 
themselves upon a level with the Most High* 


Men and nations are clay in the potter's hand, and heaven and 
earth must bend to His purpose. Hebrew literature enshrines the 
effort to reconcile intense religious conviction and the has*d ex- 
periences of history, God must be omnipotent; it is He who 
hardens Pharaoh's heart, deceives men, tempts them to sin, gives 
them statutes that are not good (Ezek. xx, 25)3 so that the Law 
itself becomes a temporary measure in the eyes of Paul (but see 
Rom. :xi, 2532). Semitic religion is coloured throughout by a 
rather crass determinism and the sense of man's nothingness before 
an arbitrary God. Indeed, the Semitic gods are not at ease. Mighty 
and imperious, they manifest themselves in the more terrifying 
phenomena; they are devouring fires to destroy alike sinners and 
the uninitiated (Ex* xix, 1 2 sq.\ xxiv, 1 i), to punish both the ethical 
and the ritual misdemeanour (Is. xxxiii, 14). Accordingly we find 
the greatest extremes; entire dependence upon the deity, tears, 
laments, utter abasing, a femininity, a * slave' temper; or else it is 
a sublime and often very spiritual confidence; or it is a self-suffi- 
ciency, with all the arrogance of a divinely-chosen representative. 
Although * I slam' is pious * submission' to the will of God, it is a 
resignation not without a confident assurance of what, that will is. 
Entirely characteristic are the words of a very old Babylonian 
attempt to solve the mysteries of personal experience : * If men 
hunger they are like corpses; if satiated they consider themselves 
a rival to their god; if things go well, they prate of mounting to 
heaven; if they are in distress, they speak of descending into Ir~ 
kallu (*.. the world of the dead)/ 

Sensual grossness alternates with reverence; and both asceticism 
and sensuality have been pursued to the extremest lengths. The 
jealousy and intolerance of the gods is that of the worshipper; and 
the history of the Semites, like that of other ancient peoples, 
has many pictures of fanaticism and of horror. Still, the fact 
remains that as one follows the general trend of Semitic life 
and thought one is invariably filled with admiration for the 
brilliant exceptions; and the protests of reforming spirits and the 
striking conceptions of the purer minds are the more to be appre- 
ciated. One contrasts the Babylonian hero of the flood saved by 
the favouritism of the god Ea, with Noah delivered by his merits 
Lot is saved for his hospitality; and there is a profound protest 
in the assurance that God is not one to lie or change His mind 
(Numb, xxiii, 1 9). Intelligibly enough, fear and gloom run through- 
out Semitic religion (cf. pp, 443, 533 sq.}. Men must confess that 
of which they are not consciously guilty; they must be cleansed 
of their unknown sins, and appease all known and unknown gods 


and goddesses whoever they may be. Neither the Semites nor their 
gods have the softer virtues. In the Mohammedan conceptions of 
Alia]* attributes of vengeance overshadow those of love; but all 
the religions reiterate the ultimate mercifulness of their god. Se- 
mitic religion in general is naive and child-like; it is often that of 
the trustful and, it must be said, of the spoilt child. The require- 
ments were simple: be good and enjoy the land (Is. i, 19 sq.}. It 
is essentially practical, with practical rewards in this life, or (in the 
case of the Mohammedan Paradise) in the next. Their simplicity 
and their immediate explanations of all mysteries kept alive 
Judaism and Islam, until the advance to a more developed stage 
of life and thought made the elementary ideas too imperfect and 
unsatisfying and raised questions which could not be answered. 
To the Semite the fear of the Lord was indeed the beginning, 
or the best, of knowledge. Learning grew out of and centred 
around the sacred places which were under priestly control. The 
Jewish synagogues were centres of religious and communal life; 
the old temples had far wider functions, they were storehouses 
(the modern local shrines are also so used), banks, and trading 
establishments, and thereby gained immense influence (p, 534^.)- 
The Babylonian commercial organization of about the sixth cen- 
tury B.C. was comparable only to that of modern times, of which 
it was, perhaps, through the Greeks and Romans, the parent. And 
not only was trade bound up with religion, it reacted upon it, so 
that commercial intercourse spread religion, and promoted a cer- 
tain cosmopolitanism. But purists could object to those who 'strike 
hands with the children of strangers' and learn of their idolatrous 
ways (Is, ii, 7 sq.\ cf. Zeph. i, 8)* The old hepatoscopy, or divina- 
tion by means of the liver (p. 409) in order to determine the will 
of the gods, contributed to anatomy, even as astronomy was in- 
debted to the astrological study of the divine decrees in the move- 
ments of the stars. Moreover the priests were interested in local 
or national traditions, and in substantiating claims or privileges. 
But one must not look for objective history; and personal bias will 
show itself beneath the surface, in some strange tradition, or will 
'come out in some Psalm of vengeance, in the ejaculations of a 
Nehemiah (e.g. v, 1 9; xiii, 14, 3 1) or in the * aside* of an Arab poet* 
Already in early Babylonia the religious literature fostered the 
study of the Babylonian and Sumerian languages lexicography 
began among the Babylonians (cf. p. 5 52 sy^ and among Jews and 
Arabs it was also the main factor in linguistic and related pursuits. 
When Jewish learning concentrated upon the Law and with all 
the contempt of Confucianism for the unlearned, the * people of 


the land* the discipline at least meant some legal training, and 
an ability to thresh out the theologico-legal questions of Rabbin- 
ism. Purely intellectual speculation, however, was scarcely en- 
couraged when religious conceptions of divine power, not to men- 
tion beliefs in demoniacal and other causes, settled all doubts; and 
unusual phenomena were marvels whose * natural' causes were 
not to be Investigated, if only because men had not our conception 
of * natural/ The conditions were not favourable to complex 
thought; and speculative advance Is intuitive, with no secure de- 
fence and no 'lines of communication.' Emotion and feeling are 
oblivious to inconsistencies, and some Hebrew words for thought 
and purpose, suggestively enough, come to indicate Irreligious 
activity. The Semite was not analytical; It was the Egyptian who, 
avoiding the elaborate, clumsy syllabary of the cuneiform writing, 
took the first step towards an alphabet (p. 342). 

The Semite, unlike the Egyptian, was interested only in this 
world, and this difference between them reappears throughout 
their culture (see p. 531). On the other hand, Islam owed to ex- 
ternal influence its conception of a heaven of joys with Its counter- 
part in the tortures of helL The old popular hymns of Tammuz 
celebrated the death and rebirth of nature; but these did not sug- 
gest, as did the later mysteries, the resurrection of the dead. And 
even then, to Jews and Arabs it was a marvel of divine power, and 
no process like the natural quickening of the seed (i Cor, xv). In 
religious and other thought the Semitic mind was at the implicit 
stage; It might apprehend metaphysical facts of the spiritual order 
(tf.^g". the personality of God), but It was unable to reason about 
them. The prophets of Israel had a practical goal, and Jewish 
c wisdom' was an insight into human life and into the significance 
of nature for man. Whatever Solomon's observations were (i Kings 
vi, 6, 33), they would not be those of detached science, but gnomic, 
like the later reflections upon the ant and the rock-badger (Prov, 
vi, xxx). The religious sentiments were hostile to both science and 
art, and the latter could not exercise the influence it did in Egypt 
or Greece (pp. 134, 586). A religious theory of history was early 
developed (see p, 223 J^.); but theology and cosmogony hardly pass^ 
beyond elementary stages, and the curious Phoenician doctrines 
preserved by Greek writers (like the Greek accounts of Egyptian 
wisdom) cannot be taken, as they stand, to represent old Semitic 
thought. They represent the efforts of writers trained in Greek 
thought to restate that which at an early stage had been expressed 
in intelligible myths. Yet, in the old Babylonian conception of 
the creative power of the Word there are the germs of a more 


developed doctrine (c p. 443), though It Is to the Greek or the 
Persian lhat the Semites owed such developments. 

Tbe Greek cities of the Decapolis produced some well-known 
Greeks (e.g. Meleager, Theodorus the rhetorician), and later on we 
can contrast the semi-barbaric Lakhmids with the effect of Greek 
culture upon the Ghassanids, and mark the influence of Persian 
intellectual and speculative activity upon Baghdad. The proud 
bedouin left agricultural toil to the miserable fellahin and literary 
culture to the Persians. Arab speculation was unsystematized so 
long as it was only slightly influenced by the Greeks; and the 
Mohammedan Arabs who excelled in religious or scientific en- 
quiries were either not of Arab origin or were indebted to foreign 
teachers. But the co-operation of Semite and Greek spread Baby- 
lonian astrology, and much else besides; and while Spain in the west 
gave a new and almost modern turn to the typical Arab poetry, 
the partnership in the east enriched the world from Spain to India 
with a literary culture the benefits of which for the Europe of the 
'Dark Ages' can hardly be over-estimated. In a word, the Semites 
are middle-men, copying foreign models (like the Phoenician and 
Arab artists), reshaping what they adopt (like the Israelite treat- 
ment of the older myths), and stamping themselves upon what 
they send out. So characteristic is the repeated external influence 
upon the Semites that one may suspect that Semitic culture was 
really a complex organism from the earliest times. 

The Semite must personify; law and order in the Universe must 
be embodied In or associated with an anthropomorphic god, and 
Semitic anthropomorphism is sometimes of the crudest. Later Se- 
mitic antipathy to idolatry was in contrast with Greek bias for 
the personal and the individual and Its aversion from the amor- 
phous; but it was not only detrimental to the arts, it allowed in- 
complete conceptions of divine personality. Imageless worship (e.g. 
of Yahweh, Ashur) certainly discouraged tendencies of thought 
which were grossly human; but it encouraged ideas the reverse of 
spiritual, because the ideas of human personality were not suffici- 
ently advanced. Semitic anthropomorphism is unstable, and the 
"curious fantastic, half-animal and half-human forms in Egypt and 
west Asia, and the use of skins, masks, etc*, and the animal sym- 
bolism of the religious literature, indicate rudimentary (pernaps 
totemic) and imperfect conceptions of personality, or attempts to 
clothe ideas for which the human figure seemed far too inadequate. 

Religious, social and political ideas were interrelated. Polygamy 
excluded an intimate family life, and therefore a family religion as 
in Greece or Rome. Certain social and political organizations 


encouraged Ideas of ruling gods; and among the Jews of Elephan- 
tine in Upper Egypt (fifth century B.C.), Yahweh, like'the local 
gocl Khnum, and like Abraham with his Sarah and Hagar^seems 
to have two female companions of higher and lower rank (cf. also, 
p. 523). The conviction that the gods belong to the family or tribe 
is fundamental, and the kinship of gods and men expresses itself in 
many ways (cf. p. 350^.). The deities are men's kin, and old Semitic 
personal names frequently express some intimate bond. The be- 
lief inspires fine ideas, but can lead to gross cults, suggesting 
or symbolizing the intimate relationship. The marriage-relation 
the god and the land, people or king was especially familiar, 
but the idea of divine sonship is more inveterate and permanent, 
The gods join in the life of their worshippers, they share in the 
feasts, the wine that cheers gods and men is passed round, and all 
are one. So the gods are loyally active for their group; and the ideas 
are capable of profound development until the religion becomes 
particularistic and the morality narrow. And this exclusiveness, 
characteristic of the Semitic gods, is at once the Semite's strength 
and his weakness. 

The lengthy history of the Semites presents many phases of 
growth and decay. When the fire of enthusiasm dies down, all that 
is best perishes. The pointed speech becomes a mannerism, and 
the richness of language is tautologous. The vigorous Arab poetry 
with the virility of desert-life becomes a euphuism, Hebrew his- 
torical narrative with all its picturesqueness becomes supremely 
dull, poetry is gravely misunderstood (e.g. Josh, x, 13), Jewish 
apocalypses lose their early glow, the agonies of Syrian martyrs 
fail to move us, and Syrian metrical theology becomes tiresome 
when Isaac of Antioch is guilty of a stupendous poem of 2137 
verses on a parrot which proclaimed the holiness of the Deity. 
There is then an absence of moderation, and the typical Semitic 
aversion from absolute symmetry in art, poetry and thought be- 
comes a mechanical extravagance* The religion and ethics decline 
and leave a sterile magic. Sumerian and Jewish sacerdotalism be- 
comes extreme. Then the vision is sealed up among the few, and 
ordinary men must resort to whatever native or foreign gods they 
can find and excavation has indicated the lasting popularity of 
some Egyptian gods (notably the grotesque Bes) in early Pales- 
tine. New mystical symbolism flourishes, and at periods of de- 
generacy there are excesses of rude ? licentious and cruel cults. 
Already the Egyptian of the Xllth Dynasty could take a pessimist 
outlook upon life, and the maid Sabitu gives the old Babylonian 
hero Gilgamesh what is later the counsel of Ecclesiastes (ii, 24). 


The pre-Islamic bedouin, too, had a thoroughly hedonistic view 
of life. jKt the periods of disintegration there are advances in indi- 
vidualism which are not lost when later there is a new unity. This 
individualism has meant a greater originality of thought owing to 
the decay of earlier religious and social systems, and has led to the 
spread of new ideas. Older beliefs, customs or privileges formerly 
associated with the few have been extended to the many. Yet this 
individualism was disintegrating; men refused to acknowledge 
either the rights of others or the supreme authority of their gods. 
At such times men do 'each that which is right in his own eyes/ 
until the arrival of the new stage, which is typically one with a 
religious, no less than a social and political aspect. So it is char- 
acteristic of Semitic life that periods of decay are followed by a 
religious renewal, and that in the two versions of the accession of 
Saul, the first king of Israel, he is either a divinely-sent saviour or 
the kingship is an affront and the deity is the only king. 

The extremes of the Semites have been their making and their 
undoing. Their permanent religious and ethical gifts to humanity 
were in large measure protests evoked by current cruelty, licenti- 
ousness, excessive sacrifice and ritual, love of wealth and grossness 
of superstition. Their best was due to the ability of a few to rise 
above their worst* The instability of the Semites is in harmony 
with their subjectivity, it permeates every phase of life; and their 
enthusiasm and energy were never moderated by that objective 
knowledge and reason which would have saved them from 
both extremes. Although their characteristics taken separately 
are not peculiar to them alone, together they form a systematic 
whole, due partly to natural and physical conditions, and partly 
to their inability to develop beyond the child-stage. The Semites 
of old represent a child-stage of humanity and an arrested develop- 
ment; and, what has been said of their shortcomings is true of 
other ancient peoples. Where a social or political organism broke 
down it led to no new organism; there was not that transformation 
of idiom and thought which we find in the relatively more mature 
Indo-European world. If there have been greater and more radical 
thanges (e.g. in the Semitic dialects) during the Christian era 
and some transformations can be adduced the fact remains that 
the culture of the old Semitic world has long passed away, and that 
its true Golden Age is as far removed from the beginning of the 
Christian era as is this age. 



The ordinary economic conditions among the Semites areeasily 
recognizable; compare, for example, the situation in ancient and 
modern Babylonia (Chap, xiv). The rivers of Mesopotamia led as 
naturally to the union of cities as did the Nile of Egypt. In both 
lands the physical conditions compelled co-operation, and made 
for a certain unity and homogeneity of life and thought; Baby- 
lonia, however, suffered from its more exposed situation and hetero- 
geneity of population, and Palestine and Syria were little adapted 
for any union from within. In the steppes and deserts an Ishmael 
could flourish with his hand against everyone and everyone's hand 
against him; but access to the pasture-grounds and the use of the 
wells demanded some sort of order and discipline, and at the oases 
of the desert loosely-knit groups are easily formed. The products 
of the soil are so unevenly distributed that there can be no com- 
plete independence; groups must exchange surplus goods for 
necessaries, and from the earliest times trading-activities have been 
an important factor in political development. Caravans must be 
organized, friendly relations maintained along the routes, and the 
typical Semite is essentially an aristocratic trader. 

Needless to say, the whole system of conditions among traders 
would be entirely different from that of the agricultural districts 
or towns. So, a distinction was also drawn of old between Jabal, 
'father' of the tent-dweller, and Tubal-Cain, the metal worker, 
between the agriculturist Cain and Abel the pastoral, and between 
Jacob and Esau, of whom the latter corresponds precisely to the 
Phoenician hunter TJsoos (the Greek spelling). The aversion from 
agricultural toil reflects itself in the curse pronounced on the first 
man, and only mitigated by the invention of wine by Noah, the 
comforter (Gen* iii, 1719; v, 29). The ideal life was under one's 
vine and fig-tree; and Israel could boast of occupying cities it had 
not built and vineyards it had not planted (with the contrast in 
Deut. xxviii, 30, 33). Blessings and curses are very significantly 
of an agricultural order. But although trade is sometimes explicitly 
associated with the alien Canaanites, it was of vital importance for^ 
the prosperity of Palestine and Syria; and not only was this recog- 
nized as regards the temple (Is. xxiii), but there are divine promises 
of a prosperous foreign commerce and of the ability to lend to 
foreign nations but with the threat of the reverse in case of dis- 
obedience (Deut. xv ? 6; xxviii, 12 sq^ 44). 

The deep-reaching interconnexion of religious and economic 
ideas has many interesting aspects among the Semites. Various 


tabus were Imposed upon the families charged with the care of 
incense-trade; and the date-palm, a staple food and invaluable in 
many^ways, was the centre of various important rites and beliefs 
(pp. 361, 543 sq.}. Ideas of ownership and immovable property were 
not naturally developed among bedouins and traders, who tend to 
be aristocratic communists; and where these ideas appear they are 
part of the problem of the cause of growth and prosperity, and the 
ownership of products, and are interwoven with religious, social 
and political ideas. Thus, as regards the condition of women and 
the ownership of children, two main social types can be recognized. 
The prevailing one is that where the woman on marriage leaves 
her kin or group, and the husband is the natural guardian of wife 
and children. He is her baal y and the woman is 'held by a ia'al* 
(be'ulah^ Is. Ixii, 4, R*V. mg.). Nevertheless, such women could 
exercise power : the force of harem-intrigue Is notorious, the queen- 
mothers of Judah were important personages, women could carry 
on business and with profit to their baal (Prov. xxxi), and in desert 
warfare a maiden could be the centre of the fight and the palladium 
whose capture meant the utter rout of her tribe. But there is 
another type, where the woman remains a member of her family 
or group; she is visited by her husband or lovers, and the children 
find their natural protector in the mother's family, and especially 
in her brother. Descent will here be reckoned through the mother, 
and paternity may be quite uncertain. In both types the extent of 
a woman's freedom or subjection depended very largely upon 
individual circumstances; Laban, for example, claimed the off- 
spring of his daughters and their husband Jacob; but the wives 
complain that they have not their rightful share in the inheritance 
(Gen. xxxi). The two types involve fundamental questions of 
ownership of the wife and of the children, and also of production. 
The emphasis can be laid upon the woman or upon the man; has 
the woman borne, or the man begotten ? Has she borne children 
for her family or group ? in which case paternity may be of quite 
secondary importance. Or are the children the husband's? and 
in this case, a Ruth may bear children for a dead husband, or an 
'Abraham, when Sarah is sterile, may take a concubine. In the 
baal type the standpoint is essentially that of the man and of his 
personal rights. 

The fundamental ideas are singularly important, because if the 
term baal connotes ownership, the subjection of the woman is not 
necessarily peculiar to the baal type, and even when subjected to 
her baal she could enjoy considerable freedom. Further, baal is 
the ordinary term for a god, and the gods were not originally 


owners; the common word El itself frequently denotes rather a 
local numen. The term certainly comes to imply possession; and 
similarly, when 'God Most High' is called * possessor' of hgaven 
and earth (Gen. xiv, 19), the word is rendered 'maker 5 by the 
R.V.marg. (the verb is used of 'acquiring' and 'creating*). Ideas of 
production and ownership readily converge 'the producer owns' 
and the explanation may be that the laal is primarily the effec- 
tive cause, the functionary, the genius, the productive element, and,, 
therefore, the holder of peculiar rights. 

The precise sexual aspects of production are not primary. The 
Hebrew did not originally distinguish between bearing and be- 
getting; and the difference between "to bear' (yalad}, and the 
causative form, 'to cause to bear' (holiJ, to beget) 3 is a secondary 
development of the use of a verb which primarily has some un- 
differentiated use (e.g. "to have a child'). Also, several feminine 
words have no feminine ending (em, mother; rahel, ewe). Further, 
the deities are begetters and causes of increase, and specific god- 
desses are not only tender or voluptuous, but also protective and 
warring Amazons. Some of the great deities, in fact, are indiffer- 
ently male or female. The Sumerian Gudea appeals to his * mother' 
and 'lord' Nin-girsu, and we hear of * mother-father Enlil/ and 
* father-mother Ninlil'; c also the bisexual Kadi of Der (p. 448). 
The male Tammuz sometimes seems to be regarded as feminine^ 
and has titles that properly belong to Ishtar. The goddess Ishtar 
herself "with a feminine ending In west Semitic (e.g. Ashtart, 
the biblical Ashtoreth) is a male in south Arabia, but is called 
both a mother (Umm-Athtar) and a baal. And the sun-deity, 
Shamash, who is female in the south, is generally male in the 
north! Very complex forms arise in the apparent fusion of male 
and female qualities: the deities Ishtar-Chemosh in Moab, the 
Phoenician Eshmun-Ashtart, the royal name Shamshi-Adad in 
Assyria (p. 232), and the later combination of Mithra and Ana- 
hita. Strangest of all is the bisexual Venus, the * bearded Ishtar/ 

It is often difficult to see clearly what ideas lay beneath the 
efforts to explain growth and increase. Yet, throughout Semitic 
thought there are certain recurring beliefs and practices which 
may be said to imply certain essential ideas of which each case is 
some particular and more or less developed form. There is that 
which is holy, sacred, distinctive or tabu; it is to be approached 
with caution, with proper ritual, or through recognized inter- 
mediaries. There are powers, definite or vague, to be invoked on 
all important occasions when man feels the need of a help outside 
his own power. There are times and occasions when the * religious' 


preliminaries are indispensable to success. Sacrifices are necessary 
before nw soil is broken; one must obtain permission from the El 
(god)^ Adon (lord), Baal,, or, as at the present day, from the Sahib. 
New buildings must be dedicated, new undertakings solemnly in- 
augurated (harvest, war, coronation, etc.). There is an implicit and 
sometimes an explicit theorizing. Is the soil spontaneously pro- 
ductive? does it require an external cause sun or rain, a god of 
sun or of rain ? or does God rule over sun and rain, and are His 
favours influenced by man's prayer, and hindered by man's sin? 
The gods grant the increase of nature and of man; therefore they 
must have the first-fruits, the firstlings, and theoretically, at least, 
the first-born, who in any case have some special virtue. The theory 
is implicit that the first causes are with the gods; and things are 
*holy' before they are ceremonially made * secular * and for com- 
mon use. The gods must be tended and served, they must be fed, 
housed and clothed. But ethical ideas are by no means absent, 
and they culminate in the supreme conviction that God desires 
justice, humility and mercy rather than sacrifice (Micah vi, i 8). 

In general, there was 'power' ('mana') outside ordinary reach; 
but accessible under given conditions. It was associated) on 
the one side, with unseen beings (gods, angels, demons, the 
Arab jinn)^ and, on the other, with special individuals, who 
had peculiar abilities and almost unrestricted gifts. It is the 
illegitimate and anti-social use of one's power or of external powers 
which, properly speaking, is * magic*; and the religious side of life 
is concerned with the acquisition and manipulation of power> 
whether directly or indirectly through the will of the gods, through 
prayer, ritual or conduct (cf. p. 354 ^.). Herein lies the importance 
of the priest, but not of him alone. The closer the relationship of 
men with the source of power, the more complete the co-operation 
between men and gods, for the gods need men, even as men need 
the gods. And men can learn the will of the gods. * Yahweh will do 
nothing without revealing his secret counsel to his prophets' 
(Amos iii, 7; iv, 13; cf. also, Rev. x, 7); and, according to the 
Koran, God has sent a succession of prophets to direct men. Liver- 
*tiivination and astrology, lots, curses, oaths and ordeals all de- 
pend upon the belief in the ability of man to learn an unseen will 
and utilize it* But as the relationship of the gods with their wor- 
shipping group is usually closer with special individuals-- and 
notably the priest-kings, secular rulers, and priests Semitic 
social-political theory is fundamentally bound up with religious 

The underlying ideas take many different forms. It is Yahweh 

C.A.H.I 14 



who tends the land of Israel (Deut. xi); but otherwlse^we find 
special functional gods (of rain, corn, etc.), or baals, causes or 
authors of all fertility, human, animal and vegetable. Personal 
names frequently express some religious conviction or wish; and 
while the names of modern Arab tribes are rarely fortuitous, but 
have some significant meaning, the old names characteristically 
suggest the power or attribute of a god (Ishmael, El will hear), a 
relationship (Abiezer, the father [god] is a help), or they identify 
god and people (Ashur, Gad). Place-names, too, often have a 
sacred meaning, e.g. Jezreel (may El sow), Baal Peor, Baal Leb- 
anon; or they refer to some definite deity, e.g. Anathoth (the 
Anaths), Beth-Shemesh (house of the Sun-deity)^ Everywhere 
there were local, district and city-gods, the last being especially 
female, like the Tyche or 'fortune' of the Greek age. These were 
effective, indispensable powers, upon whose help and good-will 
men depended. The precise relationship varies, but everywhere 
we find particular forms of the fundamental Ideas, so that com- 
munities differ according to the way in which these are developed 
and systematized. 

In their most inchoate form we find them among the desert- 
tribes. Here there is an inveterate aversion from discipline, duty, 
responsibility, and all that goes to make a coherent society. Yet, 
although there is no law-giver there is law; customary usage is the 
strictest of rules, and what ought or ought not to be done is the 
bond that unites men. The link is common sentiment: the offend- 
ing kinsman is outlawed and becomes right-less; and ceremonies 
of adoption, and fictions of kinship and genealogical fabrication 
can make the stranger a true member of the group. Common feel- 
ing is typically a more fundamental bond even than blood; al- 
though blood-ceremonies will inevitably give concrete expression 
to the feeling. The keen sense of unity and loyalty within each 
group engenders a collective responsibility for good and eviL An 
offence by one defiles all (cf. Josh, vii, xxii; Judg. xx $q.}. An 
injury to one is an injury to all, and revenge is the most solemn of 
duties when a kinsman has been killed. The practice of blood- 
revenge knits together the members of each group, but sets oneT 
group against another. It is mainly responsible for the weakness 
of political organization; and, indeed, the legalized lawlessness of 
the Semites recurs in the 'brotherhood' money paid to the bandits 
of the desert, in the tribute exacted by Assyrian kings in their 
raxxias, and in the payments formerly made by European govern- 
ments to the Moroccan pirates to ensure the safety of their ship- 
ping. The mechanical tallo ("an eye for an eye') may take a more 


retributive force ('By what things a man sinneth, thereby he is 
punished*' Wisdom xi, 16); it is a step from endless reprisal 
among all the parties concerned to the regulated punishment by 
duly authorized officials. But although the restriction of personal 
vengeance has been the first care of every government from Ham- 
murabi to Moses and Mohammed, yet, when there is a period of 
social decline, there is a reversion to the unsystematized practice 
of collective group action, and blood-revenge still remains the 
custom of the desert. 

Throughout there are ideas of right and justice, and a sense of 
the evil consequences of crime. These ideas become more explicit 
in divine ordeals, judgments, and so forth. The executive force, 
however, is weak. The chiefs and elders of the tribes are men noble, 
wise and brave, but with slight authority. In Aramaic the root 
from which the common Semitic term for 'king 7 is derived means 
'to advise'; even the mighty Mesopotamian kings themselves had 
no very exclusive powers. Permanent authority is resented; though 
it would be granted to an independent religious head, who could 
weld together conflicting tribes (cf. Moses, Mohammed). Author- 
ity is based upon religious rather than upon political ideas of king- 
ship and of representative men. Even in the secular and highly- 
developed Code of Hammurabi certain difficult cases must come 
before 'God' (i/u). The desert sheikhs are frequently of im- 
portance only in ceremonial and religious affairs; and when men 
become leaders in time of war, the story of Gideon and Abimelech 
illustrates at once the interconnexion of religious and political 
ideas, and the typical instability of leadership when it is dependent 
solely upon personal claim (Judg. vi x). 

Men regarded as 'sacred' or of some superior efficacy can exert 
extraordinary influence; moreover, to men of surpassing ability 
will be attributed superhuman aid and almost unrestricted powers. 
Such men swing between the human and the divine. The mixed 
effects of modern Dervishism are notorious, and Semitic history 
is full of men of striking personality, earnest, reckless and fanatic. 
Men will arise and protest against existing conditions; and, while 
file reformer tends to become a ruler, the thorough-going political 
revolutionary will often appear as a religious leader. The head of 
a militant sect will rule a state, and politics will constantly take at 
religious form. Creeds sever the Semites, and on the smallest points. 
But they are also the strongest bonds; and, when Mohammed cut 
himself off from his people, he founded a new community in which 
slaves and freedmen might be united by the new ideas. The link 
was creed not blood. Similarly the Levites of Israel, on one view, 

14 a 


were a new body formed of men who had broken old bonds (Exod. 
xxxii, 29; Deut. xxxiii, 9). New movements of this nature will be 
marked by stern discipline, a puritanism, or even an antipathy to 
certain elements of civilization. This rigour has characterized 
certain sects or groups (Rechabites, Essenes, and the modern 
Wahhabites and Sanusis), and has been more prominent at some 
reforming period (e.g. Ezra's strict marriage reforms). The move- 
ment will encourage ideas of collective authority, conditions of 
equality, and a certain communism, illustrated in the military 
constitution of the warrior-nation of Islam and, earlier, in the 
armed camp of Israel in the wilderness of wanderings. 

Where there have been migrations, the settlement has forced 
adjustment of ideas. In settling down among the older inhabitants 
there are new economic conditions: the need of private and landed 
property is felt, class-distinctions arise, the causes of the earlier 
cohesion disappear, old ties are broken and new local ties are 
formed. Tribal names will persist with a geographical rather than 
a genealogical and ethnical value, and the newcomers will often 
accept the local names, traditions and religion of their new home. 
At one end of the scale we find intermarriage and fusion; and at 
the other, a proud isolation and an unwillingness on the part of 
the aristocratic invaders to admit the indigenes to their circle. The 
particular reforming movements and migrations belong to history. 
But their interpretation is often rendered difficult by the confusing 
use of appellatives as tribal or national names ('plunderers/ 
c desert-dwellers, * 'allies'), by the growth of religious sects into 
political entities (the Druzes), or by the religious use of earlier 
tribal or national names (Israel, Jew). 

In the change from desert to settled life the fundamental Se- 
mitic ideas take another and more highly developed form. The 
aristocratic institutions and despotisms are wholly in accord with 
the Semitic temper; a practical sovereignty could always be appre- 
ciated and accepted* There are many vivid pictures of what this 
meant, of men of extraordinary will, barbaric, ill-balanced or half- 
mad, yet patrons of letters, religion or art; men entirely arbitrary, 
or men who, as was said of Abdul-Malik, came *to do good witt 
out feeling pleasure, and to do evil without feeling pain/ They 
were men with such powers for good or for evil that one must the 
more appreciate the conspicuous cases of a higher morality (as in 
David's repentance in the matter of Bath-sheba), or courageous 
courtiers and others protesting against injustice. The Semitic 
despot ruled, often only with the help of mercenaries, but also 
because he possessed, besides the accepted qualifications (e.g. 


blood, physical and other ability), some token of superhuman 
power or'of divine recognition. But while, as part of the conviction 
of the jntimate relationship between men and their gods, the demo- 
cratically-minded prophets of Israel taught that prosperity de- 
pended upon the behaviour of the people (Is. i, 19), in more 
aristocratic regimes the emphasis is laid rather upon the behaviour 
of the representative individuals the priests (especially the high- 
priest), and in early political systems, the priest-king, or king with 
priestly powers. Thus, a Babylonian list of warnings begins, 'If 
the king does not heed the law, his people will be destroyed, his 
power will pass away/ The biblical accounts of Yahweh's relations 
to the rivals, Saul and David, and their representation of the history 
of apostate Israel and faithful Judah, afford other examples of this 
aspect of divine authority, which in one form or another is wide- 

The Egyptian Rarnses II * gives health to whom he wilP; he 
sacrificed to the god Sutekh for fair weather and was popularly 
supposed to possess influence with his god. But in modern north- 
east Africa, barely outside the Semitic area, there are veritable 
royal rain-makers; and while rain-charms are to be found from 
the old Jewish Feast of Tabernacles to modern eastern custom, 
the absence of rain in Israel was ascribed to tribal or national sin 
(Hag. i, 10 sq.\ Zech. xiv, 1619). The fundamental conception 
throughout is that of a connexion between nature and man or ? 
more especially, certain men to whom were ascribed special powers. 
According to an Assyrian saying, 'the man is the shadow of God, 
the slave is the shadow of man, the king is like God/ The ruler 
stands in closest relationship to the gods, and to the people he is 
as the god, or the god's visible representative. Ramses II was 
called the husband of Egypt, and Israel was YahweVs spouse. 
Merneptah declares that Egypt was the only daughter of Re, 
whose son (i.e. he himself) sits upon the throne; and this filial rela- 
tionship of king or land to the god was very familiar. The king is 
the god's anointed as also is the people (Ps. xxviii, 8); and the 
divine king could anoint vassal kings and ceremonially recognize 
Vassal gods (e.g. Egypt), He ruled by divine authority as the chosen 
one of the gods, if not predetermined (like a people, Is. xlix, 35; 
or prophet, Jer. i, 5) ; and his divinity showed itself in the insignia, 
costume, and toilet, in court etiquette and royal prerogative, in the 
tithes and tribute, and in the connexion between the temple and 
the palace; Such special individuals are intermediaries between 
gods and men ; and in the Old Testament, which betrays a certain 
hostile attitude to the divinity of the king God being king the 


idea becomes ultimately that of a people intermediary between 
God and the world. Although there are many gradations from 
mere prestige to superstitious veneration or to actual deification, 
there is a general pervading idea of the intermediate position of 
the representative individual between the people and their gods; 
it underlies institutions, court language, and political and eccle- 
siastical rivalries. 

The ruler by his success manifested divine favour; and what 
injured so important a person injured the country. Hence the 
conviction that he must be carefully guarded, lest lie 'quench the 
lamp' of his people (2 Sam. xxi, 17), The Egyptian Pharaoh must 
survive death at all hazards; and to retain the favour of the gods 
rulers must perform certain ritual, and observe certain ethical re- 
quirements, the nature of which depended upon current concep- 
tions. In Mesopotamia there were royal ceremonial laments; and 
the old hymns, prayers and ritual were primarily for the king who, 
like the high-priest of a later day, upheld the national cult. Later 
the sacred literature was extended to the needs of individual re- 
ligion; and by a democratizing process ideas of life in the next 
world, once indispensable for the all-important Pharaoh, became 
more widely applicable. Again, while the Babylonian king at the 
religious ceremony of coronation grasped the hand of his god's 
image, thus legalizing his position, the solar monotheism of the 
Egyptian Ikhnaton, a universalizing rather than a narrow national 
cult, expanded this into the conception of a hand at the end of 
each of the innumerable rays of the sun held out for every wor- 
shipper and every country. In Israel, too, some early fundamental 
ideas are popularized in the ideal of an entire kingdom of priests 
and a holy nation, and in the extension to the individual of con- 
ceptions earlier associated only with secular or priestly authorities* 
It is iti such processes of extension and modification of ideas that 
positive developments can be recognized. 

The rulers typically represent or symbolize, on the one side, 
the gods on whom the land or people depend, and, on the other, 
the land or people itself (e.g. the Pharaoh's double crown, see 
p. 266). They helped to suggest or mould conceptions of the gods/" 
and the arbitrariness or fierceness of the gods accords with the 
temper of the oriental despot. In such circumstances as these 
righteousness and loyalty are one. Every war is holy, the gods 
take part in the wars and even in the subsequent treaties. Where 
there were local or city chiefs with their corresponding deities, 
there were inevitable problems of rival claims and functions; and 
alliances and federations had both religious and political aspects 


(cf. for example, pp. 329, 389). In co-ordinating the deities the 
advantage of cosmic or universal powers like sun, storm or rain 
wag obvious. A successful king would naturally encourage a 
political monotheism; and when certain cities gained a leading 
religious importance, religion was centralized (Nippur, Babylon, 
Jerusalem, Shechem). Moreover, royal claims to rule over the four 
quarters or over all lands encouraged ideas of a no less universal 
god. These developed a political and religious imperialism, which, 
however, did not necessarily mean much politically (with the 
notable exception of Assyria in the eighth century B.C.); while in 
religion it would involve some identification of cults (in Israel the 
local baals were popularly identified with Yahweh), or, may be, 
the offering of gifts to the mother-sanctuary or Church. But such 
tendencies to universalism were not necessarily of a high ethical 
order, save when, for example, the prophets of Israel taught that 
Yahweh, to vindicate the Right, would even use an enemy to 
destroy his own erring people. 

The divine kingship inevitably brought difficult questions of 
both a political and a theological character : some typical examples 
of these are furnished by the Old Testament. The monarchy is a 
divine institution (i Sam. ix, 16 j^.), or it is inconsistent with 
divine supremacy (xii, 12; c Judg. viii, 23). The deity gives 
kings, but takes them away in his wrath (Hos. xiii, 10 ^$".); or he 
refuses to recognize them (viii, 4). Hence there are conflicting 
attitudes to the great schism of Judah and Israel, and notably to 
the sanguinary overthrow of the house of Ahab by Jehu and the 
fierce reforming Rechabites. Coronation was a religious ceremony, 
and continuity of rule could be symbolized by the possession of 
the regalia, or the predecessor's harem, or his favourite wife. Often 
the king must be of the old ruling family, even as the Caliph must 
be of Mohammed's tribe; and the Shiites accept as the legitimate 
religious head of the Moslem world a member of the family of 
AH, The Pharaohs maintained the fiction of solar origin to be 
adopted by every new dynasty and the Judaean kings sat on 
* David's throne' and at least claimed to be a perfectly unbroken 
line. Under the divine kingship the king's success or failure could 
be attributed to divine favour or anger, and while this obviously 
opened the door for a religious explanation of any failing, just out- 
side the Semitic area, among the African Dinka and Shilluk, chiefs 
are still killed at old age or at the first signs of weakness. At 
dynastic changes (for whatever cause) whole families were some- 
times extirpated (seventy is used as a round number), and the 
usurpers would sometimes take a famous old name (Sargon, 


idea becomes ultimately that of a people intermediary between 
God and the world. Although there are many gradations from 
mere prestige to superstitious veneration or to actual deification, 
there is a general pervading idea of the intermediate position of 
the representative individual between the people and their gods; 
it underlies institutions, court language, and political and eccle- 
siastical rivalries. 

The ruler by his success manifested divine favour; and what 
injured so important a person injured the country. Hence the 
conviction that he must be carefully guarded, lest lie 'quench the 
lamp' of his people (2 Sam. xxi, 17), The Egyptian Pharaoh must 
survive death at all hazards; and to retain the favour of the gods 
rulers must perform certain ritual, and observe certain ethical re- 
quirements, the nature of which depended upon current concep- 
tions. In Mesopotamia there were royal ceremonial laments; and 
the old hymns, prayers and ritual were primarily for the king who, 
like the high-priest of a later day, upheld the national cult. Later 
the sacred literature was extended to the needs of individual re- 
ligion; and by a democratizing process ideas of life in the next 
world, once indispensable for the all-important Pharaoh, became 
more widely applicable. Again, while the Babylonian king at the 
religious ceremony of coronation grasped the hand of his god's 
image, thus legalizing his position, the solar monotheism of the 
Egyptian Ikhnaton, a universalizing rather than a narrow national 
cult, expanded this into the conception of a hand at the end of 
each of the innumerable rays of the sun held out for every wor- 
shipper and every country. In Israel, too, some early fundamental 
ideas are popularized in the ideal of an entire kingdom of priests 
and a holy nation, and in the extension to the individual of con- 
ceptions earlier associated only with secular or priestly authorities* 
It is iti such processes of extension and modification of ideas that 
positive developments can be recognized. 

The rulers typically represent or symbolize, on the one side, 
the gods on whom the land or people depend, and, on the other, 
the land or people itself (e.g. the Pharaoh's double crown, see 
p. 266). They helped to suggest or mould conceptions of the gods/" 
and the arbitrariness or fierceness of the gods accords with the 
temper of the oriental despot. In such circumstances as these 
righteousness and loyalty are one. Every war is holy, the gods 
take part in the wars and even in the subsequent treaties. Where 
there were local or city chiefs with their corresponding deities, 
there were inevitable problems of rival claims and functions; and 
alliances and federations had both religious and political aspects 


represents animosity towards Canaan, but kindliness towards 
Japhetlf, some alien northern people. The Semites submit to 
foreigners who can rule, and the energy and simplicity of their 
religious cults have often attracted enthusiastic proselytes, who 
become almost more Semitic than the Semites. Under non-Semitic 
sovereignty (Achaemenid or Turk) rival populations have lived 
side by side and tolerated each other; or some Moses or Moham- 
med has been able to exert a divine authority and stand above rival 
feuds. The success of Alexander the Great had also a 'theological* 
rather than a 'political' basis. The Semites do not cohere; the 
religious enthusiasm which has often united them has as often 
had a disintegrating effect. Conditions become too complex; the 
thought cannot develop to meet the social-political growth, and 
institutions do not cope with expanding ideas. Religious-political 
theory finds Its ultimate authority in a subjective emotionalism, 
and there is neither the objective knowledge or thought to main- 
tain continuity, nor any external authority to still intertribal or 
international jealousies. Society has then disintegrated into its 
simplest elements, and the consequences have been more drastic 
where the material civilization has depended upon elaborate co- 
operation. So, the collapse of artificial irrigation has been largely 
responsible for depopulation and for the ruin of the great cultures 
of old, whereas simpler organisms, and especially those of the 
desert, which were never highly developed, did not suffer serious 
alteration^ but remained characteristically 'Semite/ But reflective 
minds commented on the desolate c tells y (cf. Jer. xxx, 1 8, R.V. mg.), 
and ruined palaces; and a moral philosophy, or rather the germs 
of a philosophy of history, became a feature of Semitic history. 


Pride of race encouraged genealogical zeal which could lead to 
fanciful results, and to a love of tribal lore which was in no wise 
unbiased. Oral tradition in poetry or in metrical prose can still 
have its exponents in mere herd-boys. But oral tradition is pre- 
carious, and it was the loss in battle of many of the men who knew 
most of the Koran by heart that led to the first authoritative 
written edition. Some of the earliest Arab poems (c. A.D. 500) 
were inspired by tribal warfare, and tribes were naturally anxious 
to preserve traditions that fed their vanity and supported tdeil* 
claims. The birth of a poet to perpetuate their deeds and ferae 
was especially welcome, and the poet among the Arabs was in 
some sense a man of supernatural or magical power one recalls 
the story of Balaam's efficacy (Num. xxii sqq?). 


Annals date In Egypt from a very early period (pp. 1 66 jrjr., 266). 
Religious and magical factors have also been prominent itf the rise 
of history-writing, and Mesopotamian astrological and similar 
tablets record for the warning of all concerned, portents, signs, 
catastrophes, including references to events of current interest, 
such as foreign invasions. They also contain references to past 
history (see pp, 403409). In view of the reliance upon divination, 
dreams and visions, a religious and didactic treatment of the past 
is natural; and events were readily connected with divine help and 
counsel or men's disobedience. Ritual laments for national mis- 
fortune were of a semi-historical character, and the more significant, 
seeing that the gods met annually to determine the fate of men 
and land for the coming year. Sacred myths, which among rudi- 
mentary peoples are often acted, are depicted upon the temple 
walls of Egypt. It was essential to remember the deeds of gods or 
of divine ancestors; and an appeal could be made to the deity's 
sense of honour and his prestige (cf. Josh, vii, 9; Num. xiv, 16). 
The records of the past thus inspire courage amid defeat, and hope 
despite existing evil (Hab. iii). They fortify a people and reiterate 
the consciousness of its relations with its gods. Here myth, magic 
and religion readily overlap : what the gods have done, they can, 
will, and surely must do. A Sumerian account of creation, which 
has been adapted to a purely Babylonian standpoint, now forms 
the introduction to an incantation; and an incantation for the cure 
of toothache Is prefaced by a cosmology introducing the worm 
that is the supposed cause of the trouble. The possession of know- 
ledge is power, and the knowledge of the secret name of a god Is 
especially efficacious. 

The curiosity of children must be satisfied authoritatively 
(e.g. Ex. xii, 2 6), and the usual curiosity as regards origins, strange 
phenomena, and local features leads to a mass of conflicting lore 
which Is consciously or unconsciously sifted. Hence arise variant 
accounts of Creation and Deluge, or of local shrines, ancestors, or 
heroes; and of such the Old Testament has preserved only a 
selection, but one so strangely uneven that it needs explanation. 
Myths and legends easily become complex through religious and ' 
other developments; and cuneiform tablets (notably the versions 
of the annals of Ashurbanipal) and Egyptian papyri, In common 
with the Old Testament, bear many marks of compilation and 
adjustment, and the effort to subordinate one point of view to 
another (cf. pp. 351 ^., 443 S qq^ 447). The scribe was indifferently 
copier or author authorship has no special prestige and the 
discovery of contemporary documents has proved that he was far 


from faultless. There is at times an astonishing accuracy; but the 
oft-quofed care of Jewish scribes and copyists was after the Hebrew 
text<pf the Old Testament had been fixed, though with all its 
errors, and was a scrupulousness which almost bordered on the 

Many late traditions (e.g. of Berosus) go back to an early date 
(see p. 152)5 and, like those in the Old Testament, reflect some 
historical facts; but the numerous errors and misunderstandings 
entirely forbid the not uncommon assumption that the authen- 
ticity of any element carries with it that of the whole (cf. p. 368). 
One can follow the growth of unhistorical material in a comparison 
of Herodotus (fifth century) with Ctesias (c. 400 B.C,), or of the 
books of Samuel and Kings with Chronicles, or of the earlier and 
later parts of Genesis with the book of Jubilees and other very late 
writings. Here, an ancient writer who has tried to exercise some 
criticism of his own and has given us his results, will often be of 
less service to the modern historian than one who, as often in the 
Old Testament, is somewhat naive, and has left more undigested 
material for modern historical criticism. Ancient * criticism' was 
characteristically simple. The unwelcome monuments of prede- 
cessors are erased, mutilated or partly destroyed; and even written 
narratives (as in the Old Testament) sometimes show the most 
obvious indications of an almost equally mechanical process, where 
distasteful traditions and myths are concerned. There were no 
critical principles. The growth of traditions of the Prophet de- 
manded some sifting, and the test was agreement with the Koran 
and with Mohammed's own character: 'Whatever good saying 
has been said I myself have said it.* But an enormous amount of 
false tradition was already extant; and the luxuriant growth of 
oriental tradition, which can be traced at the rise of Mohammed, 
and more recently also of Baha-ullah, is a suggestive indication of 
what recurred at earlier periods of religious activity. The hope- 
lessly complicated traditions of Moses and Aaron are an example. 

The agreement with an accepted tradition or interpretation was 
more vital than the legitimacy of the latter; and as a general rule 
the early writer, in subordinating his material to his main interest, 
was hardly conscious of absence of proportion or internal dis- 
crepancy. Semitic learning is apt to present an undigested chaos, 
like the native Arab lexicons, the Talmud, Israelite and Arab 
genealogies, or the medley of inconsistencies in the account of the 
Exodus. The Hebrew Decalogue is printed with two mutually 
conflicting systems of accents, the result is confused, but the 
reader has before him two arrangements and must make his choice. 



Impossible grammatical forms are sometimes rather suggestions,, 
hints and aids, not to be taken too literally. When the Assyrian 
sculptor gives his animal five legs, it is that we may either se^ the 
animal facing us with the fore-legs planted together, or view it 
sideways,, striding, all four legs visible. The Mesopotamia!! artist 
will crowd in every detail regardless of effect, or will indicate in 
terms of size the importance of his leading figures. In the same 
way, the biblical historians clearly indicate their sense of the relative 
importance of events, and modern criticism has been due mainly 
to the recognition of the extreme importance of facts which the 
old writers had subordinated to their own purposes or had neg- 
lected. The Egyptian monuments taught the people history, but 
the artists do not hesitate to take some liberties with the facts. 
The old slate-palette of the Egyptian Manner is in some respects 
intermediate between a true picture and a piece of picture-writing 
(cf. the palettes, pp. 251 sq^ 269, 574); and the naiveness and 
ingenuousness of the early Semitic artist repeat themselves in 
descriptive writings which are not to be judged in the light of 
modern distinctions between history and romance. And the 
Oriental is a born storyteller. 

In general there is more ingenuity than originality. Rulers will 
be inspired by, if they do not actually claim, the annals or monu- 
ments of predecessors; e.g. the account of SauPs wars is either 
based on that of David's, or more probably is its basis. The book 
of Chronicles has a historical outline similar to that of Samuel- 
Kings, but the narratives themselves usually represent later events 
or points of view; in like manner the account of the Exodus is 
partly indebted to narratives no longer in their original context. 
In Arab poetry less attention is paid to diversity of idea and more 
to the diversity of form in which an idea is expressed; the poet 
will give a new turn to the phraseology, and show his merit by 
improving the work of him whose composition he has adopted. 
The Hebrews took over and reshaped earlier myths; and it is a 
characteristic fact that development is not recognized by the 
Semites, although some development can usually be traced. There 
is reliance upon old precedents and antipathy to the new; yet 
there is always some change. The new is introduced under the 
auspices of ancient names: Moses, Enoch, Solomon, Isaiah, 
or^Baruch. Prophecy in Israel authoritatively ended, but glosses, 
editings, and anonymous or pseudepigraphical writings continued; 
and ^ familiar adjurations against tampering with written works 
persist by the side of habitual editorial processes. The Law 
underwent development, but it was not to be expanded or shortened 


(Deut. iv, 2; c v, 22); and the supremacy of the Written Law 
was maintained by the side of continuous development through 
the Jewish fiction of an esoteric Oral Law; cf, also Rev. xxii, 1 8 sq+ 

The custom of burying clay-cylinders, papyri, etc., in temples 
led to the later discovery of some old sources; but the practice 
could suggest a way of justifying some new change, and not every 
* discovery* of a reputed old work was genuine (so especially 
2 Kings xxii). At certain periods there was a more conscious 
archaizing and return to the past; and this and the constant copy- 
ing of older sources often make it difficult to date literature and 
trace the development of thought, Talmudic writings of the 
Christian era will contain examples of ancient Babylonian legal 
usage, and many elements of Semitic belief and custom are quite 
undatable. It is often difficult to determine whether Assyrian or 
Neo-Babylonian texts represent current thought (seventh to fifth 
century B.C.),, or that of the twenty-first century B.C. and earlier; 
and the fundamental problem of Israelite history is that of the 
relation between the Judaism of Ezra's time and the earlier 
Mosaism, and of determining how much is Mosaic, how much 
exclusively post-Exilic, and what historical development inter- 
venes. Here as in other cases there have been movements which 
drastically affected life and thought; but tradition prefers to pass 
over the intervening periods and will interest itself in the more 
remote past for its significance or meaning for the present. Certain 
periods thus come to resemble each other; and, when they are 
periods of some new social, political and religious revival, there is 
a new cohesion and interrelation very different from the disin- 
tegrating tendencies of the preceding periods. At these times 
more attention is paid to the general practical needs of the moment 
continuity must be maintained, precedents discovered/ changes 
rendered legitimate and orthodox, and popular interests satisfied, 

Popular memory does not necessarily cherish the most promi- 
nent events of historical importance; different ages, countries and 
persons are confused, and good historical data, legend and myth 
are inextricably blended. The early Mohammedan historians were 
content to adopt current Christian or Jewish tradition rather than 
authentic history; and, at an age of considerable culture among 
Jews, Syrians and Abyssinians, the pre-Islamic Arabs, few of whom 
could read or write, had only the most confused and untrustworthy 
recollections of the past, the old Minaean and Sabaean culture 
being almost forgotten. Early advances in civilization are often 
lost, e.g. the old north Semitic inscriptions of the eighth century 
B.C. are more precise in the division of words, etc,, than are those 


of the Phoenicians several centuries later, A description of the 
distant past may, like the Phoenician cosmogony, survive only in 
a very late form, and the 'primitiveness* that often characterizes 
the Old Testament is not, on that account, of ancient date. The 
interest is always for the present, and the 'truth' of a narrative 
lies in its whole personal appeal to the simple reader our Edomite 
foe (Gen. xxv, 23; xxvii), the origin of yon Danite sanctuary (the 
caustic story in Judg. xvii sq^ and not in the question whether 
things happened exactly as described. The biblical series, 
Joshua-Kings, was explicitly styled the 'Former Prophets/ a clear 
indication that they were not records of history, but didactic ex- 
positions with a lesson and an interest for the present. The writers 
do not stand outside their history as we can. From time to time 
we can follow a secularizing tendency (e.g. in the Code of Ham- 
murabi), or we can trace tendencies to individualism (Jeremiah), or 
to what may be called democracy (bedouin life), or to rationaliza- 
tion (the treatment of ancestral heroes), or to deification (among 
Sumerian kings), or to the explicit moralizing treatment of history 
(Judg. ii) in contrast to the unsophisticated spontaneity where the 
moral is implicit (as often in Genesis). Again, we can see the 
transition from fresh religious historical interest to the dryness and 
insipidity of lists or summaries (Ps. cvsy., cxxxvi, Chronicles; cf. 
the inscriptions of Ramses III). These are tendencies which do 
not occur together or at one age, and we can gain a wider and 
truer perspective of history than could the early historian. 

The Semites have produced some famous historians, and their 
theories of history are of much interest. The Arab, deriving his 
alphabet and early literary culture from the Syrians, seems to have 
thought Syriac absolutely primitive. Much earlier, Babylonia was 
the spiritual home (p. 234); and no doubt the itinerant * Chaldean ' 
priests and diviners were as patriotic propagandists as were the 
Jews, whose zeal in glorifying their own culture and in proclaiming 
its priority, led to no little controversy, the more especially when 
Jews and Egyptians occupied themselves with the traditions of 
their relations in Hyksos days (pp. 1 57, 1 63 sq^. How Medes and 
Persians influenced Semitic tradition can only be guessed from 
some of the extraordinary traditions in Ctesias and other classical 
writers. Alike the pre-Islaniic Arabs and the Israelites had their 
theories of primitive inhabitants; and amid touches of antiquar- 
ianism we find curious mistakes and misconceptions, and the 
strangest ideas of the past. The Israelites certainly manifest a 
genius for historical construction, and the Old Testament em- 
bodies the oldest history-writing extant. Here there are most 


interesting, though not necessarily trustworthy, conceptions of 
early social development (Gen. iv), of typical migrations and settle- 
ment,<and some admirable specimens of historical narrative which, 
in their present fragmentary form, presuppose a fairly extensive 
body of literature. Historical inscriptions from Moab and north 
Syria (nintheighth century) also have a very good style, and are 
the fruits of an unmistakable sense of history. Even earlier (four- 
teenth century), some of the 'Amarna* letters from Jerusalem, 
Byblus, etc., to the Egyptian court are extremely informing and 
vivid. It is precisely on account of the combination in the Old 
Testament of different sorts and centres of interest, types of 
thought and perspectives of religious and political history that 
the Israelites* own account of the past has to be replaced by the 
attempt to recover the historical events that lie behind it. 
A whole history lies behind their history-writing, for the Old 
Testament began to assume its present form about the sixth 
century B.C., an age of which very little is known. Although the 
records are scanty, this period is one of disintegration, immi- 
gration and transition, in no whit less significant for mankind than 
the epoch-making vicissitudes at the Israelite invasion, the birth 
of Christianity, or the rise of Islam, It was the age of the great 
collapse of oriental empire; and subsequent writers, throwing 
themselves back into the past, discovered new hope in old glories, 
and, as the world seemed to be falling to pieces under the feet of 
Persian and Greek, found in their religious interpretation of 
history a solace and rallying-point, and a mission for the future, 
Bitter experience influenced their conception of history, and to the 
Jews more than any other people personal experience and the 
philosophy of history were interdependent. 

The acute Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (fourteenth century A.D.), 
from a wide experience of Arab conditions, developed a note- 
worthy theory of the historical development from nomad to settled 
life. He saw how the relatively simpler and purer nomads conquer, 
settle down and become corrupted by luxury; they lose their old 
moral superiority, and in time are swept away by a new wave of 
conquest. In his opinion society is bound together by community 
of interest esprit de corps and by religion; and he held that 
without religious enthusiasm the Arabs could not found a king- 
dom. A kingdom, like an individual, has a life of its own, lasting, 
however, three generations; and history is an endless cycle of 
growth and decline, of moral strength and decay, though there is 
a gradual advance throughout to some higher goal. His theory 
may be compared with that of the Israelite writers; it is virtually 


the theory of Deut. xxxii (Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked); union 
and migration are followed by settlement and disunion, apostasy 
brings defeat, religious revival means victory and a new era (Judg. 
ii sqq^. But Instead of Ibn Khaldun's objective cycle of events., the 
Israelite theory was the essentially subjective one of cycles or 
periods of retribution (cf. 2 Sam, ix-xx and i Kings i-ii; also 2 Kings 
xvii, 6-1 8). Its conception of fulfilment was the accomplishment 
of what had preceded or was predetermined, the filling up of the 
half-filled cup. A sense of Incomplete or unfinished destiny under- 
lies the expected return of the dispersed Jews, the mission of 
Israel,, the coming Messiah, and the desire for the renewal of the 
broken unity of God and Man. And this same unity, in other 
forms, underlies the later conception of a Second Adam answering 
to the First, and of a final consummation with a New Creation 
and a New Heaven and Earth corresponding to the first Creation 
of the World (Rev. xxi jy.). 

The Semite has no conception of any absolute beginning: things 
pre-exist (like the Messiah or Koran), a heaven is already in exist- 
ence, or gods are presupposed (cf. Gen. i). Nor is there any concep- 
tion of an end. The theory of history is emotional and subjective. 
There is anticipation of cataclysm and Semitic history is cata- 
strophic but no consciousness of development. Alpha is Omega, 
the first is last, and the Semite feels his self-identity and maintains 
a continuity, while denying the evolution of which he nevertheless 
manifests the effects. 

Building upon his ordinary knowledge, the Semite has made 
the patriarchal system his pattern. Disregarding the facts of inter- 
marriage and alliance, he conceives pure stocks, he distinguishes 
Israel from Canaan (contrast Judg. iii, 6), contrives simple gene- 
alogies, and ignores the complexity of life. Generalizing the family 
with its patriarchal head, he has easily Imagined one primitive 
pair, although every head is only one of many, and the family 
itself is an abstraction. Thus, he finds a single, primaeval human 
pair and a single ancestor Abraham, although the history also 
conceives a Jacob as the father of Israelite tribes. In this way It 
has seemed natural to assume a single human ancestry at some 
particular time and place, a single primitive language the ancestor 
of the rest, an original ancestral Semitic language and a single 
home of a pure race of Semites. Yet these conceptions are more 
theoretical than historical. Our sources allow us to strike the stream 
of history at particular periods, or to trace particular develop- 
ments; but we are unable to go back to origins when, e.g. the 
Semitic languages or the Semites were not Semitic in our sense of 


the term (p. 187), or when beliefs and practices were so rudi- 
mentary* that our terms ('religion/ 'ethics/ 'philosophy/ * civi- 
lization/ etc.) cannot be legitimately stretched to embrace them, 
Our whole conception of world-history, as derived ultimately 
from the Bible, is Semitic, the product of the religious conscious- 
ness and the result of religious reflection. Modern views of origins 
and of early development are replacing the wisdom of the ancients, 
but the religious and philosophical interpretation of the new facts 
does not lie within the province of the historian. Nor can he assert 
that, at some point in the past, history, as distinct from myth and 
legend, first begins. The entrance of Abram (Abraham) and his 
followers into Palestine was presumably held to be contemporary 
both with the time of Hammurabi (c. 2100), the Golden Age of 
Babylonia that of the Sumerians lies further back and with the 
Xllth Dynasty of Egypt, an age of new activity and intercourse. 
The biblical history has evidently recognized here a landmark, 
which it associates with the rise of the ancestral figure of Abraham. 
After a universal catastrophe (the Deluge), and after man's arrogant 
attempt to build a tower that should reach heaven (see p. 505), 
the race is scattered, and in due course, after the birth of Abram, 
the history of Israel opens. But although the twenty-first century 
is not so ancient from the point of view of Egyptian and Meso- 
potamian history, we have only the scantiest knowledge of Syria 
and Palestine. The prevailing view of Israelite origins is not the 
only one, and the biblical narratives, in Genesis as so frequently 
elsewhere, are of chief importance for the light they throw upon 
what was thought of the past. In this way they illumine the 
inner history of very much later times, when the development of 
thought in these lands can be more fully traced. The early chapters 
of Genesis, which purport to be the history of the world before 
Abraham, thus prove to be of real and permanent value for our 
knowledge of subsequent periods, to which they are a far more 
important contribution than ever they could be for pre-Abrahamic 
or pre- Mosaic history. 


Syria and Palestine do not enter into the full light of history 
before the sixteenth century B.C., and then the land is so completely 
bound up, with the surrounding countries that we may infer that 
this was already the case in the earlier period for which, unfortun- 
ately, our material is of the scantiest. The land certainly could not 
have wholly escaped the influences which flowed over it between 

C.A.H.I 15 


Egypt, Asia Minor, the Aegean and Mesopotamia, although it is 
not easy to determine how far it was affected by them. But even 
in early times, as was certainly true later, Palestine was sot so 
highly developed as Syria, whose superior political importance is 
due to its proximity to Asia Minor and the Mesopotamia*! king- 
doms. For the earliest conditions, see above, pp. 36 sqq.^ 90 sy. 

Early Mesopotamian kings had occasional relations with Syria 
from the time of Lugal-zaggisi (see pp. 402, 404 sq.^ 417, 577 sq^. 
It is uncertain whether Sumerian or Babylonian influence then 
spread westwards; but Egypt strongly influenced the coast and the 
south, and there are many traces of early intercourse with Egypt 
and of the presence of Egyptians (pp. 290, 293). Various strange 
fusions result. Egyptian objects are widely copied, Egyptian and 
Syrian (or Mesopotamian) elements of culture blend, and as far 
south as Lachish the buildings betray northern influence. The 
cedars of Lebanon were eagerly sought after on all sides, and in 
the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinaitic peninsula 
was an Egypto-Semitic temple to the goddess whom the Egyptians 
identified with their own Hathor. Egypt had trading and warring 
relations with Palestine in the IVthVIth Dynasties (under Sne- 
fru, Sahure and Pepi), and the tomb of Inti (Vth Dynasty) depicts 
a characteristic scene at a place whose name, compounded with 
Ain (*weir), shows that a Semitic language was already in use (see 
p. 290). But in the later dynasties there were Asiatic incursions 
into Egypt, possibly part of some larger Semitic movement, and 
during the Middle Kingdom intercourse between Asia and Egypt 
was complete. The Romance of Sinuhe gives an excellent picture of 
contemporary life, about the twenty-second century B.C., and points 
to conditions in Syria and Palestine which essentially correspond 
to those illustrated by the Amarna letters (fourteenth century) 
when the internal and external history of the land can be followed 
for the first time. Like the Tale of the Two Brothers (which has 
parallels in Gen. xxxix), it was perhaps known in Palestine. 

The story of Sinuhe is of some important personage who at the 
death of Amenemhet I found it advisable to flee to Palestine until 
after many years he was graciously received back to the court oJ 
Senusret I (see pp. 304, 348). After some obscure adventure with 
an unnamed man Sinuhe reached the "Wall of the Ruler, which 
had long before been erected to keep off the bedouins. Eluding 
the guard he entered the desert and was succoured by a bedouin 
chief whom he had previously known in Egypt. He was given 
water and boiled milk and, accompanying the tribe, was passed 
on from one district to another until he reached Byblus (so one 


version), and then Kedme (Kedem ? the Semitic term for the East), 
perhaps the district to the east of Damascus. After two and a half 
yearSj* Ammi-anshi (so the name is generally read) 1 , the chief of 
Upper Tenu, heard of his fame and invited him to join him and 
live among other Egyptian-speaking people. He set him over his 
children and gave him his eldest daughter in marriage one re- 
calls the flight of Moses after his murder of the Egyptian and his 
marriage with the daughter of the priest of Midian (Exod. ii). 
He made him prince and allowed him to choose the best of his 
land : it was the land of Ya (an unidentified locality), fair, rich in 
fruit, grain, oil, and innumerable herds. All good things were his, 
in addition to what his hounds caught; and his children grew up, 
each the chieftain of his tribe. So Sinuhe lived, dispensing hos- 
pitality as became a sheikh, and the courtiers travelling to and fro 
were his care. He gave water to the thirsty, brought back the 
straying, and protected the robbed. When the bedouins went forth 
to war against the princes of the lands he was the brains; and lead- 
ing the men of the prince of Xenu he made war on all sides, 
carrying off cattle, people and food, killing the people with his 
sword and bow, and by his cleverness. Such exploits had won him 
the chief's love and had made him set him over his children. His 
success galled the Asiatics, and a doughty braggart of Tenu, a 
hero without his equal, came to challenge him, Sinuhe passed the 
night preparing his bow and arrows and dagger, and cleaning his 
weapons. Day dawned, and the tribes came around. Sinuhe was 
the favourite, every heart was kindled for him; the women cried, 
and everyone was full of anxiety. The champion approached 
with shield and dagger and an armful of spears. At last he was 
shot by an arrow in his neck, he fell on his nose, and Sinuhe des- 
patched him with his own battle-axe (cf. David and Goliath, 
i Sam. xvii, 51). Standing on his back he raised a cry of victory 
and praised his god Month (the Egyptian go$ of war). The people 
shouted, Ammi-anshi embraced him, and Sinuhe took the dead 
man's goods and herds: * What he thought to do to me, that did 
Jf to him/ 

He t^as now great, wealthy, and rich in herds. Would that the 
god that had decreed his flight would now be gracious 1 He longed 
to return to the place where his heart was, and to be buried in the 
land of his birth. A messenger arrived and read a friendly letter 
from court, where he was missed, holding out the supreme hope 
of a respectable Egyptian funeral ceremony instead of a bedouin's 

1 The name, however, could be read Neshi son of Amu (A. H. Gardiner, 

c~ de Travauxy 1914, p. 196). 


burial In a sheepskin. In a suitable reply Sinuhe interceded on be- 
half of three princes; it is possible that they were Egyptiatfrefugees 
like himself. He then transferred his possessions to his children, 
and appointed his eldest son as leader of his tribe. Proceeding south 
he reached the 'Horus way ' and his bedouin retinue was dismissed; 
he arrived at court and, after being chaffed as a veritable bedouin,, 
a son of the north wind, he was restored to favour. So, once more 
decently cleansed and anointed, he enjoys the luxury of Egypt, 
no longer a sand-dweller he is clad in fine linen, he again sleeps 
in a bed, and leaves the sand to those who live in it. 

This romance, a favourite one among the Egyptians, and the 
more likely to be known in Palestine, may have left its traces in 
the story of the rise of David and his fight with Goliath (i Sam. 
xvii). It illustrates Egyptian influence and prestige, Asiatic interest 
in Egyptian politics, and also the poor opinion Egypt usually had 
of her Asiatic neighbours. The 'plunderers,' or 'sand-dwellers/ 
in Egyptian opinion, were never in one place; they were always 
fighting, but were neither conquerors nor conquered; they were 
ready to plunder small settlements, but less willing to attack the 
towns. These latter, as we know from the excavations, stood on 
small eminences (50300 feet high), occupying very little space; 
such important cities as Jericho and Megiddo, for example, 
covered only some 1113 acres. They were surrounded by walls, 
those of the above cities being about 8001000 yards in circum- 
ference. The walls of Gezer were 1 3 feet thick and were dotted 
with towers about 24 by 40 feet square. The houses were crowded 
together in crooked lanes; but an important building like the 
palace at Taanach covered about 75 by 77 feet. That there were 
men who possessed no inconsiderable skill is proved by the walls 
of Jericho (some 24 feet at least in height), which are remarkably 
well constructed from a military point of view, and by a tunnel- 
at Gezer, which runs 130 feet through the rock, and for the greater 
part is about 23 feet high and nearly 14 feet broad, and was hewn 
in order to reach a spring. The Semitic type of the people is clear, 
especially from the Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni-Hasan repre- 
senting a party of 37 Asiatics (Amu) from the desert, traders with 
eye-paint, headed by the * prince of the desert/ whose name re- 
sembles that of the biblical Abishai (p. 305 ^.) They are markedly 
Semitic, with black-pointed beards, clean lips, and bushy hair 
reaching to the nape of the neck. They are clad in close-fitting 
fringed garments with coloured decorative patterns. The men are 
shod with sandals, and the women wear buskins. Their arms are 
bow, spear, and a sort of boomerang; one of the men plays an 


elaborately-shaped lyre, and an ass carries two children in a pan- 

Tfee romance of Sinuhe represents a patriarchal system, organ- 
ized conditions, and frequent and regulated intercourse. Sinuhe 
must be duly conducted from tribe to tribe; and later, one .of the 
Amarna Letters consists of an order from some important ruler 
in north Syria to the kinglets of Canaan (Palestine) bidding them 
to hasten in safety the courier he is sending to the king of Egypt, 
his * brother/ Couriers journeyed to and fro, and, to judge from 
excavation, there seems to have been a small Egyptian colony at 
Gezer, even as there were Egyptians in Sinuhe's neighbourhood. 
The Amarna Letters give many a picture of pro- and anti-Egyptian 
intrigue; and the romance shows that already refugees from Egypt 
not only found shelter in Palestine, but could serve usefully as 
clever counsellors in warfare, or as diplomatic agents. Sinuhe 
describes himself as singing the praises of the divine-king, the 
Pharaoh, 'the god who has none like him, before whom no other 
existed,' and such ideas can be supplemented from the Amarna 
Letters, and were no doubt familiar among the more civilized 
natives (see above, p. 213). Sinuhe also counsels Ammi-anshi to 
be obedient, and send his name (as a token of submission) to him 
who had been destined to smite the bedouins and overthrow the 
desert-dwellers* On the other hand, travelling was never safe, and 
the Sallier Papyrus tells how the scribe makes his will before he 
enters the land terrible for its Asiatics and lions, happy if he is 
lucky enough to return. It is uncertain whether Babylonian was 
already widely used, as it was six centuries later. However, its 
later prevalence throughout south-west Asia must have been the 
result of earlier intercourse, due no doubt to the extension of 
Mesopotamian influence, and it was employed in Cappadocia 
before the twenty-first century B.C. (p. 453 j^.). 

The Egyptian names for Palestine were Kharu in the south and 
Retenu in the north, Senusret III of the Middle Kingdom stormed 
Sekrnem in Retenu, possibly Shechem in central Palestine (p. 307 
f<). It is disputed whether Upper Tenu in the romance of Sinuhe 
l^ati"- error for Retenu, or (less probably) represents Tidanu, a 
district in Amor, the important land from which the Amorites 
of the Old Testament ultimately received their name (p. 458). 
There are several traces of autonomous states in Syria and north 
Mesopotamia; and although the northern place-names are dis- 
tinctly less Semitic in form than those of Palestine, there was a 
Semitic population differing dialectically and in certain elements 
of culture from that of Babylonia (pp. 420, 451 tqq^ 467 


There was an early Assyrian colony in Cappadpcia, and Assyria 
itself was no mere mirror of Babylonian civilization. At Khana on 
the middle Euphrates the kings include Isharlim (a name resem- 
bling Israel), and Amml-ball, a compound of Ammi (like Sinuhe's 
patron Ammi-anshi), such as is familiar in old Arabian. 

The most important political term, however, is Martu or Amor 
(Amurru) : it is specifically the western land, and Amor Is also the 
name of its deity. Sometimes the term is applied to the whole 
region west of the Euphrates; but later It is restricted further 
west, and includes the Lebanons and Damascus, as distinct from 
the coastland of Canaan, But it is never used consistently. A 
strong Ainorite chief could extend his sway, and, as was the case 
some centuries later, could embrace a number of subordinate 
principalities, and might perhaps exercise influence even as far as 
Babylonia. The Amorites at an early date spread their name far 
to the south and east, and the Babylonian city of Sippar even had 
an Amorite quarter, perhaps on account of the presence of an 
Amorite colony or of a cult of the god Amor. At all events, to- 
wards the close of the third millennium the Amorites prove unmis- 
takably threatening, and Amor is an important political state held 
by the Elamites under Kutur-Mabuk, and later by Hammurabi 
(after he had conquered the Elamites) and by one of his successors, 
Ammi-ditana (pp. 484, 493). Moreover, there are distinctive 
elements of culture (names of months, legal terms and usages), 
characteristic personal names, and dialectical peculiarities which 
are not Babylonian but have parallels in the old South Arabian 
inscriptions or in West Semitic (the later Canaanite, Hebrew, etc.). 
Many compound proper-names have the more archaic verbal 
form yamlik ('he reigns') Instead of imlik\ compounds of Ammi 
recur, and for some of these latter and also for various other names 
exact South Arabian parallels are found. Not to mention other 
peculiarities (eg. iluna, our god, instead of -w), and certain dis- 
tinctive west Semitic divine names, Hammurabi himself on his 
monument has been thought to have a bedouin type of face. 

Unfortunately we can hardly decide from the evidence whether 
the Amorite and related settlements are to be derived from south 
Arabia (the date of whose inscriptions is unknown), or from a west 
Semitic source. Early relations with Arabia are in any case indicated 
by the inscriptions (pp. 416, 431)^ But Amor holds a place in 
the Babylonian period which resemtles that of Aram during the 
Assyrian age; for Aramaeans also came to have Important political 
centres (though chiefly in the west), and their dialect, too, in time 
gradually prevailed from Babylonia and Assyria to Palestine. 


Moreover, about the Christian era there were tribes of the desert, 
who, although Arabs, were in some respects more closely related 
to the Aramaeans and Hebrews, and such tribes have been 
quite capable of forming important though short-lived dynasties 
(p. 184). Hence it would seem that, outside the settled culture 
of the Sumerians and Semites of Mesopotamia, there were 
tribes whom we may call c Amorite,* and who, to judge from the 
evidence of names, may be responsible for dynastic changes at 
Isin, and for the First Babylonian dynasty itself (pp. 465, 470); 
and perhaps also, if we may assume some sweeping movements, 
for the incursions into Egypt before the Xllth Dynasty already 
referred to (see pp. 340344)* 

Although much is at present indecisive, the main fact is the 
presence of a certain culture independent of Babylonia, the depth 
of whose influence over western Asia has often been exaggerated. 
There are elements of art, myth and religion among the west 
Semites which are hardly of Babylonian origin. Certain deities 
appear to be unmistakably west Semitic or Amorite; and the fact 
that the god Amor (Martu) is frequently mentioned in personal 
names of the Hammurabi dynasty would indicate the extent of 
Amorite influence at this, the Golden, Age of Babylonia. Amor, 
later known as the god of the Sutu (the nomads of the north 
Syrian desert), was god of war and hunting. His consort Ashirat 
(or Ashratum), mistress of lusty energy and joy, was a goddess of 
the common Ishtar-type, and is also called the bride of the King 
of Heaven. Amor and his consort are associated respectively with 
the mountain and the steppe, and the two thus cover the whole 
land* The name of the goddess, who in south Arabia is associated 
with the moon-god, corresponds to the Hebrew Asherah^ the 
sacred pole or tree-trunk, a well-known object of cult* The name 
also suggests Ashur, the patron-god of Assyria (see pp. 451, 454), 
and the Israelite Asher, which may be (like Gad) the name of both 
a tribe and its god. But since it means happiness, prosperity, or 
the like as also does Gad it is a very appropriate name for a 
deity, like the later Greek * Fortune' (Tir^T?); and in this case the 
various deities are not necessarily identical. Apart from the god 
Amor, the chief god of the land of Amor was the god of rain and 
plenty, storm and war, a type of god which prevailed throughout 
western Asia under many names, his * Amorite' title being Addu 
or Adad. He is also known as Hadad and Rammanu ( c thunderer ? ); 
and he corresponds to Teshub the chief god of the Hittites, and 
to the Buriash of the Kassite invaders of Babylon. He was asso- 
ciated with the bull and the thunderbolt; and, in the familiar 


Assyrian personal name Shamshi-Adad, the storm-god is joined 
with a solar deity who is sometimes female (in south Arabia and 
some Hittite groups),, and is the wife of the god of fertility* with 
the result that the combination forms a perfect pair in nature and 
in sex. The solar deity is well known in place names in Palestine 
(e.g. Beth-Shemesh), where it sometimes seems to have been re- 
garded as female. 

Another western deity is Dagan, who is also widely distributed, 
and is honoured by Hammurabi as his * creator/ The Hebrew 
word means * grain/ and although the Philistine Dagon of Gaza 
was supposed to be a fish-god, and gods half-human, half-fish 
were known on the sea-coast, the god is fundamentally a food-god, 
whether fish or grain, even as the Phoenician Sidon seems to owe 
its name to a god of fishing or hunting according to the nature 
of the food. That the Israelite Yahweh was originally an old 
Amorite deity, to be identified with the forms Ya, Yau in names 
of the First Babylonian Dynasty, is not impossible; and it is an 
interesting fact that, while the so-called Amorite names disappear 
with the fall of that dynasty, Ya(u) remains, presumably because 
the god continued to be worshipped. Indeed, the name of the 
Habiru (Khabiru), who now begin to be occasionally mentioned in 
the east, may be no other than that of the Hebrews (p, 420). For 
the present, all that can safely be said is that one would expect 
the chief god of the Hebrews to be, partly at least, of the Addu 
type Yahweh was associated with nature, growth, and the 
steer and although Ya(u) does not appear among the many 
alternative names of Addu, Addu was later the great Baal of the 
west, and Yahweh and Baal became interchangeable until Israelite 
prophets protested against the fusion. 

The decline of Babylonia and the establishment of the Kassite 
dynasty were contemporary with sweeping movements in the 
west. The Hyksos invaded Egypt, and Indo-European (Iranian) 
and Hittite influences are subsequently found far south (Jeru- 
salem, etc.). And while the Kassites in the east had no creative 
power, but adopted Babylonian customs, in the west we shall find 
the kingdom of Mitanni, whose political prominence in Amor 
and Assyria points to the presence of a strikingly virile organiza- 
tion. The fact that Egypt, when she drove out the Hyksos, imme- 
diately instituted campaigns against Syria and the north (sixteenth 
century), suggests that the mysterious invaders had come thence. 
Certainly there has been no lack of identifications for the Hyksos; 
but the only inscription referring to their nationality states that 
they brought many of the Amu (bedouins), but were themselves 


foreigners. They brought the horse and chariot, like the j^assites, 
and their fortification of Avaris in the eastern Delta would indicate 
that *hey wished to preserve their communications with south-west 
Asia. Palestinian excavation has not as yet thrown light upon the 
problems of the Hyksos, but it supports the view that their occupa- 
tion of Egypt was not of very long duration (see pp. 150, 315). 

Of the Hyksos kings, Khian was one of the most famous; his 
name is that also of a king of north Syria (Kha~ia-ni ? ninth century). 
Salatis seems to bear the Semitic word for ruler (Hebrew shallij). 
An interesting name contains Anath, the Syrian goddess of war and 
love, and apparently the same as the Babylonian Antum, wife of 
Anu, god of heaven; and it combines Anath and El, just as, among 
the Jews of Elephantine in the fifth century B.C., the same goddess 
is combined with Yahweh in the name Anath-yahu. Another 
royal name may be interpreted as Jacob-el, which is also that of 
a Palestinian town taken by Thutmose III (fifteenth century), 
and seems to recur as a personal name in early Babylonia (Yakub- 
ilu, Yakubum). The name Jacob-baal is also found on a Hyksos 
scarab. Jacob-el would then mean *the god (El) outwits,* or, less 
likely, * Jacob ("he who outwits ") is God/ and it is even possible 
that Jacob or Jacob-el was an old divine title. The precise sig- 
nificance of the names must, however, be regarded as conjectural. 
The native name of the chief god of the Hyksos themselves is not 
mentioned; but he was of the Addu type, and apparently corre- 
sponded to the Baal of Canaan, who becomes very well known in 
Egypt under the Ramessids. In general, the Hyksos, whatever 
their true nationality, seem to have been more or less Semitized, 
even as in Egypt they speedily became Egyptianized; and their 
invasion can hardly be separated from the more extensive move- 
ments in which also Hittites and Indo-Europeans were involved. 
See further, pp. 311 sqq^ 323* 

Of Syria and Palestine in this early period the biblical traditions 
preserve only the faintest echoes. Written from much later points 
of view, and incorporating traditions of very different age and 
interest, the records of Hebrew and Israelite origins proceed 
chiefly from southern Palestine, and seek to explain how the great 
ancestors entered the land and made their way to the south. They 
look back to Abram (or Abraham), the grandfather of Jacob (or 
Israel), who was the 'father' of the Israelite tribes, and 'brother* 
of Esau (or Edom). Israel thus represents a later and more re- 
stricted group than Abram, whose nephew Lot is the 'father* of 
Moab and Ammon. Both are regarded as immigrants. According 
to Ezekiel (chap, xvi; sixth century B.C) Jerusalem lay in the land 


of Canaan; she was of Amorite and Hlttite origin, and uncared 
for, until Yahweh took pity on her, a pity which she^ abfased by 
sinning worse than her sisters Samaria and Sodom. Similajrfy, in 
the genealogical notices, the Hebrews are descendants of Shem 
whose god was Yahweh, and they live in an alien land of Canaanite 
or Hamite stock (p. 185*). Abram comes from the home of his 
father Terah at the famous ancient city of Harran in north Meso- 
potamia (Gen. xii, xxiv, 4, 7), but primarily, according to some 
statements, from Ur (100 miles south-east of Babylon). Both cities 
were important centres of the cult of the moon-god Sin, and the 
pantheon of Harran included Sharratu ('queen'), Sin's wife, and 
Malkatu ('princess'), a title of Ishtar, names exactly correspond- 
ing to Sarah and Milcah, Abram 's wife and sister-in-law. More- 
over, the name Terah (or Tarh) recalls the god Tarhu, or Tarku, 
of the Hittite peoples; and sundry traditions associate the Hebrews 
with Harran and more northerly districts, and point to a move- 
ment from old Hittite and related areas in the north. On the other 
hand, not only did the Phoenicians, according to Herodotus, also 
claim to have come from the Persian Gulf; but Iir, the traditional 
home of the Aramaeans (Amos ix, 7), was apparently near Elam, 
and may have been merely another name for ? TJr, the modern 
identification of which (el-Mukayyar, p, 398) may possibly pre- 
serve an echo of Kir itself. But it is difficult to distinguish between 
Hebrews and Aramaeans, because Abram has Aramaean relatives, 
and Jacob (Israel) has Aramaean wives and is actually regarded 
as once a nomad Aramaean (Deut. xxvi, 5). It is also noteworthy 
that the Moabites are called sons of Seth (Num. xxiv, 1 7, R.V. 
mg), a name perhaps identical with that of the bedouin Sutu of 
the northern desert, who are mentioned in the Amarna Letters 
together with the Habiru, whose name, in turn, may be that of 
the Hebrews. Certainly, the stories of the Garden of Eden and of 
the Tower of Babel point to Babylonia; but even if Babylonia was 
respected as the cultural home of the west, and some tribes claimed 
a Babylonian origin, the traditional connexions with Harran and 
the north must not be ignored. 

Quite another tradition (mentioned by Justin xviii, 3) associates 
the Phoenicians with the Dead Sea. It is thus connected with the 
story of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, and other 
cities, which belongs to a lost cycle of tradition, fragments of 
which have been preserved and worked into the story of Abram 
and his nephew Lot (Gen. xiii, ro sqq.\ xviii jy.). Here Abram 
leaves Harran, peacefully enters Canaan and divides the land 
between Lot and himself. Lot chooses the beautiful plain of 


Jordan, comparable only to the Garden of Eden It \*L_S before 
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the formation of the 
Dead* Sea! The wickedness of the inhabitants is their ruin, and 
there is a terrible catastrophe of which the sole survivors are Lot, 
who had proved his kindliness, and his two married daughters. 
By a desperate expedient the daughters preserve mankind from 
extinction, and Lot, now a cave-dweller, becomes the father of 
Moab and Ammon. It seems that an entirely independent story 
of Lot, the survivor of a cataclysm as destructive as the Deluge, 
has been taken up into the story of Abram, whose nephew he 
now becomes. Primarily, Lot must have been a great ethnical 
ancestor; and if nothing is said of the origin of the Phoenicians in 
our narratives, it is presumably because they, like the Canaanites, 
are now regarded as alien (Gen. x, 15)* Nor is Edom supposed to 
exist, for Abram has yet to become the grandfather of both Jacob 
(Israel) and Esau (Edom). But the name of Lot or Lotan is known 
as that of a division of the Horites whom Esau drove out; and 
while these people are presumed to be troglodytes like Lot, their 
name is probably that of the south Palestinian Kharu mentioned 
on Egyptian monuments. Lot(an), too, in spite of philological 
difficulties, may be identified with the old Retenu. 

Hence we have here traditions of an indigenous origin of cer- 
tain peoples (Ammon and Moab, also Phoenicians and Horites); 
and they are evidently so inveterate that they were preserved and 
adjusted to the story of Abram, Moreover, not only are the Moab- 
ites called sons of Seth (? the bedouin Sutu), but Seth is also the 
third son of the first human pair, Adam and Eve, and the head of 
a noteworthy list of ancestral figures. Even the worship of Yahweh 
begins in the time of Seth's son Enosh, and therefore long before 
the reputed age of Abraham (Gen. iv, 25 s$,, v). These fragments, 
such as they are, prove the value once attached to a now lost body 
of local traditions of Palestine and of the origin of the worship of 
Yahweh, They have been almost superseded in order to give 
prominence to Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob-Israel, and to 
the standpoint of writers who feel their entire aloofness from the 
alien Canaanites and Phoenicians, from their Hebrew kinsmen of 
Moab and Ammon, from their Aramaean cousins, and from their 
brethren the Edomites of the south. In such circumstances it is 
scarcely possible to recover from these complicated narratives the 
history of the earliest period. 

The Phoenicians claimed a historical tradition extending over 
30,000 years! The figure suggests some acquaintance with the 
traditional antiquity of Chaldean dynasties as related by Berosus 


(p. 1 50 sg.). Herodotus, however, was told that Tyre had been 
founded 2300 years previously (i.e. c. 2750); but it is impossible 
to substantiate this, unless, perchance, some tradition of the age 
of the Sargonids is involved. Efforts have been made to date the 
age of Abraham partly from the biblical chronology and the pre- 
sumed date of the Exodus (p. 163 Jf.)> and P artl 7 fr ? m the much- 
discussed account of the overthrow of four eastern kings and their 
armies by Abram the Hebrew and his 318 followers j^Gen. xiv). 
Here we are told that the kings of five cities of the plain had long 
been oppressed; Lot (once more a private individual) was carried 
off, and the scene Is the Vale of Siddim, the Dead Sea the event 
is supposed to happen before the great cataclysm. Now, of the 
hostile kings, the first is Amraphel of Shinar, presumably Ham- 
murabi of Babylonia. Arloch of Ellasar, i.e. of Larsa, can hardly 
be identified with Eri-aku, the Sumerian form of AradSin, son 
of Kutur-mabuk, who, moreover, was not a contemporary of 
Hammurabi* The Elamite Chedorlaomer has a name unknown, 
but of genuine form, meaning 'servant of (the goddess) Lagamal/ 
The name of Tidal of Goiim (* peoples, hordes ') may be the Hittite 
Dudkhalia, known in the thirteenth century. However, the leader 
of the kings is Chedorlaomer, whereas Hammurabi was no vassal 
of Elam, but its chief foe; and the story, which contains anachron- 
isms and misunderstandings, and introduces old primitive inhabi- 
tants of the land, aims chiefly at describing the glory and piety of 
the great ancestor of Israel. It also tells how Abram after his 
victory was blessed by Melchizedek of Salem, priest of God (El) 
Most High. It thus exalts the ancient priesthood of Jerusalem; 
for, while Jacob promises tithes to zahweh at Bethel (Gen. 
xxviii, 22), Abram himself is supposed to introduce the practice 
by giving tithes to Melchizedek at Jerusalem. See also p, 473 n 
Tradition has doubtless preserved some genuine names and 
possible situations; but in its present form the narrative is late, 
and it was especially in the Persian period (c. fifth century B.C.) 
that Babylonians themselves were keenly interested in the early 
relations between Elam and their land. The names Abram and 
Abraham ate found in Babylonia in the First Dynasty the 
latter as a small farmer and we have seen that those of Jacob 
and (possibly) Israel are no less ancient, and that those of the 
Hebrews and perhaps Yahweh may be traced. But the names in 
the biblical narratives are more ancient than what is said of them; 
and although certain social' usages in Genesis can be illustrated 
from Hammurabi's code of laws, they are in no wise peculiar to 
that remote period and do not prove the antiquity of their context. 


It has sometimes been thought that the entrance of Abram and, 
later, of Jacob refers in some way to two distinct ancient immigra- 
tion^ Again, when Abram enters Egypt and is escorted out (Gen. 
xii), and when Jacob likewise enters and a large company returns 
to Palestine (very late traditions tell of wars between Egypt and 
Canaan at the time), it has been conjectured that the writers are 
giving their view of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt and their ex- 
pulsion. But conjectures of this sort can hardly be disproved or 
proved. In any case, if they are well-founded, it is abundantly 
clear that the narratives themselves cannot be used, as they stand, 
for our history of these events. 

The biblical narratives regard the Amorites as the old inhabit- 
ants, and as distinct from the Hebrews, of whom the Israelites are 
a subdivision. A relationship is felt, partly with Babylonia, partly 
with the semi-nomad Aramaean and related population of the 
desert, and partly, also, with the Aramaean and more or less 
Hittite districts of the more cultured Harran and the north. But 
the narratives hardly reflect the period of the First Babylonian 
Dynasty or of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom. From Mesopotamia 
to Crete the age was an active one; it was also one of great 
ethnic movements which flooded some portion at least of the Se- 
mitic area. Moreover, there were tendencies to supreme and 
universal gods (p, 323); and if one may build upon the later occur- 
rence of the gods Varuna and Mithra in Asia Minor (see p. 312), 
the noteworthy ethical character of the former comparable only 
to Yahweh is highly suggestive of the noble ideas that could pre- 
vail. Such Syrians as Sinuhe's father-in-law would have oppor- 
tunities of learning what was happening in the outside world; and, 
in any case, the rich world of life and thought which we shall find 
in Syria and Palestine. in the next period was no sudden growth. 
Yet, although the deities which can be traced among the western 
Semites at the earlier period were naturally centres of ritual and be- 
lief, it would be unsafe to attempt to reconstruct the period from the 
scanty remains. The indications in an ancient cave at Gezer of some 
pig-cult seem to point to the widespread worship of Tammuz and 
to the antiquity of what became the well-known tabooed animal. 
This evidence combines with indications of rude conditions and 
the presence of some non-Semitic stock both to warn us that as 
far back as the historian can go the * Semitic * area was a meeting- 
place of many different and conflicting elements, and to suggest 
that * Semitic culture ' is sometimes specifically the new formations 
that arose, perhaps as a compromise between the desert and the 
more exposed surrounding lands. 


nature and range of our archaeological and historical 
JL material give Egypt the priority in a survey of the develop- 
ment of the Ancient East. The earliest period is the predynastic 
or prehistoric : it is called predynastic because it precedes the 1st 
Dynasty of Manetho's list (pp. 259 sqq.}> and prehistoric because 
it antedates the earliest surviving written records. The period is a 
discovery of the close of the nineteenth century. When the exca- 
vation of Nakada in 1895 ky Flinders Petrie revealed crouched 
burials surrounded by black-topped ware and other now familiar 
types of hand-made pottery, the contrast which these burials and 
objects presented with those previously known in Egypt sug- 
gested to him a *New Race/ which must have entered Egypt at 
some period during the early dynasties. But others pointed out 
that in this 'New Race' we were at last face to face with the 
earliest inhabitants, excluding those of the Palaeolithic Age, of 
the Nile valley. Since this time predynastic cemeteries have come 
to light in considerable numbers, and it may reasonably be said 
that we are as well acquainted with the material civilization of 
this era as with that of any other in Egyptian history, though at 
the same time it has to be admitted that our knowledge of its actual 
history amounts to practically nothing* 

It will best serve the present purpose if we begin by describing 
the remains actually found, and then proceed to draw from them 
whatever conclusions are possible regarding the civilization of 
this remote era. And since the period is known to us mainly from 
Its cemeteries, we have to reverse the natural order of things, and 
learn all we can of the treatment of the dead before we proceed to 
ask what is known of the living, 


The typical predynastic tomb consists of a shallow pit cut in 
the sand or in the soft rock which usually underlies the sand. In 
the earliest times it is usually circular, but, later, rectangular types, 
often with slightly rounded edges, come into use. At the bottom 
of this pit lies the body in a tightly contracted position, that is to 


say with the knees drawn up towards the chin and the arms bent 
at the elbows in such a way that the hands are in front of the face. 
The ^mport of this position will be examined below ; for the 
moment we must describe the later development of the grave 
itself. At first it had been usual to lay the body in the centre of 
the tomb, which indeed was only just large enough to hold it, and 
to place the vases and other objects round it. Later, especially in 
rich graves where numerous offerings were to be made, a special 
step or ledge of rock was left when digging the grave, in most 
cases on the west side. On this ledge were placed the larger vases, 
while the body with its ornaments and often the smaller vases and 
other objects lay in the deeper part of the pit. A further develop- 
ment soon followed. The shelf, in order to accommodate more 
vases, was broadened until it threatened to occupy the whole pit 
to the exclusion of the body* To obviate this a recess was cut to 
hold the body in the side of the grave opposite to the ledge. In 
some cases this recess is so large as to rival in size the original pit, 
from which it is occasionally divided by a fence of wattle or a wall 
of mud brick. 

The latest of the predynastic tombs sometimes have a lining of 
mud brick round the edges of the rectangular pit, a form which 
persisted into the dynastic period. Many of these tombs were 
probably not roofed in any way, but merely filled up to the desert 
level with the sand which had been taken out of them; others 
however were covered with a primitive roof of wood surmounted 
by a layer of mud. No traces of a superstructure have ever been, 

The body was not mummified in any way, but was in many 
cases simply laid in the grave without any covering or protection; 
occasionally it was wrapped in the skin of some animal, and 
frequently it was covered with a reed mat. Sometimes the body 
was placed beneath an inverted >ot, more rarely in a true coffin 
of pottery : both methods of burial seem to be confined to the later 
phases of the period. At Mahasna (north of Abydos) the coffin 
consisted of four planks placed in the position of the four sides of 
a box, but with neither bottom nor lid; in some cases the planks 
were so placed as to constitute a wooden lining to the pit rather 
than a true coffin for the body. The normal position for the body 
was on its left side. This position was used in the very large 
majority of the tombs in all the cemeteries known to us, with the 
exception of el~Arnrah (south of Abydos), where the position on 
the right side was normal in the earlier phases of the period. 

Practically all predynastic tombs were placed with their longer 


axis lying local north and south, i.e. parallel to the course of the 
Nile at that particular point. The significance of this custom is 
wholly unknown, but the care with which it was observed suggests 
that it may have involved a religious idea of great importance. 
The head generally lay towards the south, but the rule was not 
invariable, and at Turra (south of Cairo), in particular, there were 
numerous exceptions. Why the body was always placed in the 
contracted position is uncertain. Some have suggested that it was 
used in order to save room in the cemeteries. Others think it was 
the natural position of rest or sleep, while yet others affirm that 
the limbs of the dead man were tightly bound up with cords in 
order to prevent him from doing harm to the living. But perhaps 
the most widely approved suggestion is that the posture is em- 
bryonic, i.e. that of the foetus in the womb, and symbolizes the 
return of the mortal to the womb of earth from which he came. 
It is unnecessary to discuss here the value of these speculations, 
we need only note that any attempt at explanation must^ reckon 
with the very wide distribution of this peculiar custom in early 
times in Europe, North Africa and nearer Asia. 

Several excavators have called attention to the occurrence of 
predynastic tombs in which, though there was no trace of sub- 
sequent disturbance, the bones of the skeleton appeared to lie out 
of their natural order. From this fact they inferred that in certain 
cases the body was either cut up before burial, or else buried 
provisionally in some other spot and only removed to the tomb 
in which it was found after natural decay had allowed the skeleton 
to become disarticulated. Although there are parallels for these 
practices elsewhere, some archaeologists still totally deny their 
existence in Egypt. Nevertheless a dispassionate examination of 
the evidence suggests that it is more prudent to preserve an open 
mind, even though some of the cases quoted as examples of dis- 
memberment can be explained away. The discovery of partly 
dismembered bodies inside untouched linen wrappings at De- 
shasheh points to the practice of this custom in the early dynastic 
period, and it would therefore be in no way surprising to find it 
already obtaining in the Predynastic Age. 

The body having been laid in the tomb it only remained to 
place around it the funerary provision. This consisted to a great 
extent of vases of food and drink. It is probable that the vases in 
which the offerings were placed were in many cases made specially 
for the occasion, and were not those which the deceased had been 
in the habit of using in his lifetime. Along with these, however, 
were frequently placed objects which he had actually used, and 


which were very often worn or damaged by use. Thus with a man 
were buMed tools and weapons of copper, flint or stone, while a 
woman was equipped with her ornaments, necklaces of beads, and 
armlets of flint, slate or ivory, malachite to make eye-paint, and a 
slate palette and pebble wherewith to grind it. 

Of the manner in which the predynastic people lived we can 
form fairly accurate conjectures from the contents of their tombs. 
But fortunately we can do more than this, for several sites are 
known on which they actually dwelt. Some of these may be 
described as kitchen-middens (kJKkkenma&ddinger)* They consist 
simply of heaps formed by the refuse of everyday life, bones, 
shells, pottery, worn or broken flints, etc. Several of these early 
settlements at Ballas, Mahasna and Abydos, have been more 
closely examined. All lie on the sandy edge of the desert. At Ballas 
there were remains of mud-brick houses. At Mahasna were dis- 
covered sockets in which the excavators conjecture that there must 
have stood poles supporting huts or tents; but the absence of 
more solid remains leads us to suppose that the dwellings were 
either of very flimsy material or, if of wood, were capable of re- 
moval in sections. At Abydos two large hearths were found, from 
five to six metres in diameter, consisting simply of heaps of 
wood-ash containing fragments of bone and pottery. The objects 
of flint and pottery found in this settlement, were, as a whole, like 
those of Ballas, much rougher than those drawn from the con- 
temporary graves, though no type found in the graves was entirely 
unrepresented. This makes it quite clear that the objects buried 
with the dead were mainly chosen from his finer and more valuable 
possessions. Indeed it is not altogether improbable that some of 
the better types of pottery were manufactured purely for funerary 

On the edge of three of these settlements were found structures 
consisting each of a number of deep open-mouthed jars, about a 
metre in height, coming to a point below, and arranged in two 
parallel rows placed so close as almost to interlock. Each vase was 
supported beneath by a number of vertical fire-bars of clay, and 
the whole structure was surrounded by a low wall and roofed over, 
leaving the mouths of the vases free. Around and among the fire- 
bars were found large quantities of charred wood, and close 
investigation showed that the whole formed a kind of slow-com- 
bustion furnace designed to keep at a moderate temperature for 
some length of time a certain substance placed in the jars; this 
when analysed proved to consist of grains of wheat. Analogies 
from other countries and ages tend to show that these kilns were 

C.A.H.X l 


used for drying wheat with the purpose of increasing its keeping 
properties, rather than for parching it in order to facilitate grind- 
ing. However this may be, it shows clearly that the predysiastic 
people were not only agriculturalists, but that they were quite 
well acquainted with the problems of storing their grain. 

The state of civilization to which these people had attained at 
the moment when their appearance is first revealed to us in the 
Nile valley was in many senses a high one. Some think that they 
were still in the neolithic stage; others, relying on unpublished 
evidence from the excavations at Nag c ed-Der (opposite Girgeh), 
believe that copper was already being gradually introduced during 
this period. What is certain is that long before the 1st Dynasty 
copper was used in considerable quantities for arms and imple- 
ments. Within this same period gold and silver both came into 
use, and in two tombs of the Middle Predynastic Period, near 
Medum, were found beads of hammered iron, in one case strung 
alternately with others of gold. 

But throughout the predynastic age the substance most used 
for implements and weapons was not metal but flint. There was 
no difficulty in obtaining material, for the limestone cliffs of 
Egypt contain flint nodules without number, many of which are of 
a quality which readily lends itself to minute and accurate work- 
ing. It was, therefore, to be foreseen that the flint industry in 
Egypt would attain to a very high level, and it did in fact reach 
an excellence which has never been surpassed. For ordinary uses 
implements of a simple type were made, and no more work was, 
done on them than was necessary to give the desired surface and 
edge. But for the finer products a very different method was 
pursued. In order to secure a perfectly even surface from which 
regular flakes could be removed by pressure, the implement was 
first roughly shaped by coarse flaking, and the whole surface was 
then ground smooth. The implement now possessed all the 
necessary qualities except sharpness and durability of edge, which 
could only be produced by taking off minute flakes from the edge. 
The Egyptian was, however, not satisfied merely to do this, for 
he proceeded to remove a double series of rippling flakes from 
the face, and in many cases to fit the edge of the implement with 
minute and almost invisible teeth. The tool was then complete, 
except that in some cases it was fitted with an artistic handle of 
wood, ivory, bone or gold. 

Next in importance to the making of weapons to defend himself 
and to hunt, and implements wherewith to pursue the occupations 
by which he lives, the savage ranks the preparation of vessels in 


which to cook and eat his food and store the products of his 
agriculture. And it is here that in Egypt a paradox meets us, for, 
at th moment when he entered Egypt, the primitive potter was 
producing vases so admirable from the technical and artistic point 
of view that his successors never surpassed and seldom equalled 
them. He had learned to clean his clay by mixing it with water 
and removing the coarser particles which settled first at the 
bottom; knowing that a pure clay is apt to crack in the firing, he 
introduced into his paste a proportion of small grains of quartz or 
limestone; despite his ignorance of the potter's wheel he moulded 
his shapes so perfectly that its absence is never felt; and, last but 
not least, he belonged to one of those rare and happy periods when 
the craftsman seems incapable of an error of taste, and in con- 
sequence almost every form that leaves his hands is a thing of 
beauty. The vase once moulded he coated it with a slip of finer 
clay in which a quantity of powdered haematite had been mixed, 
and after a short drying in the sun polished its surface with a 
smooth pebble or a spatula of bone. There now remained only 
the firing. But here too experience had taught him something. 
Did he require the vase to retain the red haematite colour, he 
placed it clear of the glowing embers in the open flame; did he on 
the other hand wish to produce a bichrome effect, he placed it 
mouth downwards in the fire, whereupon that part of the surface 
which was covered by the ashes surrendered a portion of its 
oxygen and turned into the magnetic oxide of iron, which is black, 
while that on the exposed portion, free to draw oxygen from the 
air, remained in the form of the red oxide. The result was the 
well-known red-polished pottery with a black top. Having dis- 
covered a white pigment which would withstand the action of fire, 
the potter was further able to draw simple geometric and even 
naturalistic designs on his red-polished or black-topped wares, 
and so to produce what may be the world's first painted pottery. 

But the Egyptian predynastic potter possessed a piece of know- 
ledge more extraordinary than any yet described. Not only had 
he discovered that sand when combined with potash or soda and 
a metallic oxide will vitrify at a certain temperature; but he had 
realized the possibilities of this glaze for decorative purposes; he 
had learned to colour it blue with a salt of copper, to make it 
adhere to the substance on which it was to be laid, and to produce 
a fire of sufficient temperature to fuse it. See pp. 320, 576. 

The hardness of stone had no terrors for the predynastic crafts- 
man. It is true that in the earliest tombs stone vases are rare or 
even absent, but in the Middle Predynastic Period the drill had 

1 6 a 


already been discovered, perhaps as a direct consequence of the 
working of copper. Equipped with this instrument,, and dbubtless 
with an inexhaustible store of patience, the Egyptian fou$d no 
stone too hard for him to work, and indeed the diorites with their 
fine surfaces were among his favourites. Here again, as in the 
case of pottery, he arrived at astonishing accuracy and beauty of 
form, and his achievements in the harder stones were never sur- 
passed in later days. 

Passing from the products to the authors of them we have next 
to ask what manner of man was the predynastic Egyptian. 
Anthropological researches carried out in Egypt during the last 
twenty years enable us to form a very good idea of his physical 
characteristics and his racial affinities. He belonged in the first 
place to a remarkably homogeneous and unmixed race. He was a 
small man 5 the average stature being under 5 feet 5 inches in the 
case of men and 5 feet in the case of women. He was of a slender 
and almost effeminate build; though his limb bones possess certain 
characteristics (platycnemia and platymeria) commonly supposed 
to indicate great muscular strength. His hair was dark-brown or 
black, wavy or almost straight, sometimes even curly, though 
never woolly like that of the negro. He possessed very little facial 
hair, but a small pointed beard and slight moustache were generally 
permitted to grow. 

His skull was of the long and narrow type known as dolicho- 
cephalic. This at once ranks him with the early neolithic peoples 
of the Mediterranean as opposed to the Armenoid or Alpine race, 
which seems to have penetrated into central Europe from Asia 
towards the end of the neolithic period and to branches of which 
the bronze age civilization of north Italy and possibly the geo- 
metric civilization in Greece were due (cf. pp. 34 $qq* y 65 ^^., 
93, 105 sqq^ The early Egyptian skulls when viewed from above 
present a long angular pentagonal appearance. The face is oval and 
pointed^ the jaw narrow and sharp, and the nose apt to be flat, 
especially in the females. There is no doubt that this race formed 
the base of the population of Egypt far down into dynastic times, 
and that a strong admixture of it remains even to-day in the more 
isolated villages.^ As far as can be ascertained at present it remained 
quite uncontatninated until the end of the Predynastic Period, 
when it gradually became mixed with another element possessing a 
skull of a much broader type, an element drawn from the Armenoid 
branch referred to above, and known in Egypt as the Gizeh race, 
from the site on which its presence was first observed (cf. p. 34), 

The pioneer of this anthropological work in Egypt, Elliot 


Smith, insists most strongly on the homogeneity of the predynastic 
race up* to the beginning of the dynastic era in the cemeteries 
examined by him in Upper Egypt. At Tarkhan, however, which 
is much further down stream, between Cairo and Wasta, the 
measurements of the long bones of the skeletons, which 'were 
found to give clearer results than other parts/ have suggested to 
Flinders Petrie that in the second half of the Predynastic Period 
there was a distinct reduction in the stature of the race, which 
continued well into the dynastic age. This change he attributes to 
the rapid infiltration of a new people, the * Dynastic Race/ who 
were shorter than the predynastic Egyptian and, as he thought, 
probably came from Elam, Should anthropologists decide that 
the changes recorded by Petrie require the supposition of a 
new people to explain them, and if no similar changes in these 
same measurements are noticed in the cemeteries further up the 
Nile, we shall probably be compelled to believe that the dynastic 
people came in from the north, and for some time only occupied 
the northern portion of Upper Egypt* We shall return to the 
question later; see pp. 2,54, 2,63. 

The language spoken by the predynastic inhabitants of Upper 
Egypt was in all probability the same as that used in the dynastic 
epoch. Unfortunately no proof of this can at present be given, 
but if the bulk of the population remained unaltered in type, and 
if the infiltration of the Armenoid element was very gradual, the 
assumption that no change of tongue took place is by no means 
hazardous. At the same time it is to be regretted that we have not 
a single undoubted specimen of predynastic writing. This is the 
more remarkable in view of the fact that in certain of the royal 
tombs of the 1st Dynasty we find the system of hieroglyphic 
writing so highly developed that it must already have been long 
in use, and had already acquired a cursive or hieratic script, 
written in ink. A slate palette of undoubted predynastic date, 
found at el-Amrah, has in relief two signs which might conceivably 
be hieroglyphs; one of these may be an early form of the cult 
object of Min, but the other is no known hieroglyph, and no 
conclusion ought to be drawn from the group. Of the early in- 
scribed cylinder-seals none can be definitely proved to be earlier 
than the rise of the 1st Dynasty, the predynastic examples showing 
only designs of animals and birds, with in one case a star, and in 
another what appears to be a building. Further, it is doubtful 
whether any of the slate palettes which show undoubted hiero- 
glyphs can be dated as predynastic. On the other hand, the crude 
combination of elementary true writing with pictorial representa- 


tion so admirably illustrated by the great palette of Narmer (p. 
268) warns us that if this document is a fair sample of the stage 
which writing had reached at this moment (beginning of tfee 1st 
Dynasty or just earlier), and not an archaism, very little in the 
way of writing is to be expected from the period which preceded 
it. At the same time it is singular that nothing at all has up to the 
present made its appearance. 

Of the religion of the predynastic Egyptian we know practically 
nothing. Judging by the existence of a pronounced animal element 
in the cults of the dynastic period it may be suspected that in 
earlier times Egypt passed through a true totemic stage. This 
hypothesis is not susceptible of proof, though several facts have 
been observed which are fully consistent with it. Such a theory 
would explain, for instance, the custom of representing the king 
of Egypt under the form of an animal, such as a bull, a lion, a 
scorpion or a hawk, though it must be admitted that there are, in 
some cases at least, other possible explanations. On the predynastic 
vases with designs in red on a buff ground we find representations 
of boats on which are standards supporting what are generally 
supposed to be the cult objects of various districts. Among these 
are the hawk and the elephant, which, it is suggested, may have 
been totems of two tribes. Similarly, among the later nome-signs 
of Egypt, which undoubtedly have a very early origin, are several 
which may be totemic in origin, though we are always confronted 
with the difficulty that many of these birds and animals may be 
nothing more than hieroglyphs carrying a purely phonetic value. 
Finally, some writers believe that the animals which so frequently 
appear on the carved slate palettes, on the ivory knife-handles and 
combs, and on the cylinder-seals of predynastic days are totemic 
in origin. The precarious nature of all this evidence need hardly 
be pointed out, and were it not for the theriomorphic element in 
the later religion the suggestion could not be ventured that Egypt 
ever passed through a totemic stage. See also below, Chap. ix. 

The distribution in the Nile valley of the * predynastic ' culture 
is quite clear. In the Delta it has not as yet been found; but since 
the earlier strata in this part of Egypt are usually unattainable 
owing to the rise in the water level no conclusions whatsoever can 
be drawn from this negative evidence. From Turra, 8 miles south 
of Cairo, predynastic cemeteries and settlements extend up into 
Nubia, being perhaps most thickly scattered north and south of 
Coptos and the mouth of the Wadi Hammamat. Throughout the 
whole of this long stretch of land the civilization seems to have 
been quite homogeneous up to the moment of transition to the 


Dynastic Period, when a distinct tendency to fall behind is ob- 
served ill Nubia. Whatever views we may hold as to the origin of 
the pj-edynastic people of Egypt and there are some who believe 
that they entered Upper Egypt from the south by way of Nubia 
it is at least clear that the cultural influences which produced 
the high civilization of the early dynasties first came into play in 
Egypt itself, and only gradually permeated Nubia, 


The length and date of the Predynastic Period are matters of 
very great uncertainty. The terminus ad quern depends purely on 
the length assigned to the various dynastic periods, whether on 
astronomical or on other grounds, a matter which has already been 
discussed (pp. 168 sqq^ As regards the duration of the period it 
may at once be said that all attempts to estimate it by the amount 
of development which took place during its course are the merest 
guesswork, and, as such, devoid of value. Had we, as in the case 
of the Later Intermediate Period (between the Xllth and XVIIIth 
Dynasties), a dated era both before and after it with which com- 
parisons in rate of progress could be established, we might, if we 
proceeded with caution, reach a result which had some likelihood 
of accuracy. But as this is not the case we are helpless, and most 
scholars are content to believe that the period ended a few 
centuries before 3000 B.C. Petrie, however, has proposed to date 
the earliest predyttastic graves to not later than 8000 B.C., and the 
latest to about 5500, arguing from the similarity of certain flint 
implements of the Egyptian graves to those of the Magdalenian 
era in Europe, and also to those of the great flint-working period 
in Scandinavia. It is not possible to discuss in full this argument; 
the present writer doubts the legitimacy of comparing flints 
in widely distant areas, and is not prepared to push the Magda- 
lenian epoch down to say 7000 B.C., and that of the finest 
Scandinavian flints up to that date. See above, pp. 34 sq^ 36. 

If, however, we cannot fix either the date or the length of the 
Predynastic Period we have at least a means of dating relatively 
within the period itself; and it was indeed a step forward in pre- 
dynastic research when Petrie, at Diospolis Parva, invented the 
now famous method of 'Sequence Dating.* The basis of this is 
typological. It was noticed that in certain forms of pottery vase, 
furnished with a wavy ridge of clay on each shoulder in place of 
a handle, the ridge gradually degenerated and lost its size and its 
form until it became nothing more than a useless line scratched 
on the pot. At the same time the form of these vases degenerated 


in a perfectly definite direction. This enabled them to be placed 
with considerable accuracy in chronological order; and; by ob- 
serving the forms of the other objects found with particular^types 
of wavy-handled vases, chronological series of these too were 
easily established. The whole Predynastic and Early Dynastic 
Period was divided into intervals numbered from 30 to 100, the 
series 1-29 being left blank in case still earlier graves should in 
future be discovered* The type series was then equated with the 
successive intervals of this so-called Sequence Dating,, with the 
result that if we find a predynastic tomb we can at once assign it 
to its correct position in the series. It must be clearly understood 
that the units of dating are not necessarily equal, and that the 
space from 30 to 40 might conceivably be twice or three times 
the length of that between 50 and 60, or vice 'versa. But despite 
the severe criticism which the system has met with in some quar- 
ters, and despite its obviously approximate character, it still re- 
mains a convenient and practical way of dating predynastic tombs 
and objects. The whole period is now generally divided into three 
sub-periods. Early Predynastic, Sequence Date 30 to 40; Middle 
Predynastic, 40 to 60; and Late Predynastic, 60 to 78, the end of 
which marks the rise of the 1st Dynasty. 

One other consideration must not be forgotten in trying to 
estimate the length of the predynastic civilization, namely the 
date of the introduction of the Egyptian Calendar. The nature 
of the * Sothic cycle/ and the relation between the civil and Sothic 
years, have been discussed in an earlier chapter (p. 168). Now 
since the first season of the year is called the Inundation Season, 
it is manifest that the civil calendar can only have been introduced 
at a moment when its first day coincided with the heliacal rising 
of Sothis which occurs on July 1 9th of the Julian Calendar, and 
marks the beginning of the rise of the Nile. In other words, at a 
certain moment the early Egyptian, having for some time observed 
that the length of the year was about 365 days, definitely intro- 
duced a calendar with a year of this length, and for its first day 
naturally chose that most important of all days in Egypt, the 
beginning of the fertilising rise of the Nile, a day rendered the 
more striking because it coincided with the day of the heliacal 
rising of Sirius. This coincidence took place at the beginning of 
each Sothic period, and of the two which alone deserve considera- 
tion here, namely those which began in 12781 and 4241 B.C. 
respectively, the latter can be shown to be by far the more probable. 
See also p. 265. 

Thus, unless there be some unsuspected flaw in the astronomical 


evidence, we are faced with the conclusion that as early as 4241 B.C. 
the Nile valley was already inhabited by a people civilized enough 
to observe the risings of stars and to fix the length of the solar 
year within a few hours. Would it not seem, then, that attempts 
to shorten the Predynastic Period in such a way as to bring its 
terminus a quo down to 4000 B.C. or even later are misguided? To 
this question it may be replied that the predynastic remains which 
it is proposed to date in this way all come from the Nile above 
Cairo, whereas the calendar can be shown to have been discovered 
in the Delta, or at any rate not far south of it. The proof of this 
is very simple. Ancient authorities state that the day of the Julian 
Year on which the heliacal rising of Sirius was observed in Egypt 
was July i gth. Now astronomical considerations show that this 
could only be the case in or about the thirtieth degree of latitude, 
or, in other words, in the region of the modern Cairo. So here 
again we are brought face to face with the possibility that in the 
Delta there may have existed an earlier and more advanced pre- 
dynastic civilization than in Upper Egypt, of whose remains we 
as yet know nothing. 

It may reasonably be asked what evidence we have for sup- 
posing that the graves of the Early Predynastic Period, assigned 
to Sequence Date 3040, represent the first appearance of man 
in the Nile valley subsequent to palaeolithic times. Seeing that 
practically all Egyptian cemeteries lie on the very edge of the 
cultivation, may there not be earlier predynastic cemeteries, 
formed before the Nile mud had reached its present limits, and 
therefore concealed beneath the cultivation ? There is in itself no 
impossibility in this view, but it must be noticed that the position 
of the earliest tombs known to us shows that on the whole the 
limits of cultivation in Upper Egypt have altered but slightly in the 
last 5000 years at all events, and it would be somewhat unlikely that 
just before Sequence Date 30 some change should have occurred 
sufficient to overwhelm all earlier cemeteries. On the other hand, 
though cemetery after cemetery is discovered and fails to yield 
earlier material than that already known to us, we cannot assume 
that this will always be the case, and at any moment a fortunate 
discovery may take us back another stage in the life-history of the 
predynastic Egyptian. In this connexion the complete lack of . 
evidence from the Delta should be most carefully kept in mind. 

In any case, it is not at all certain that we have not already a 
group of remains which, while they cannot be called palaeolithic, 
are to be attributed to a date earlier than that of the first known 
tombs. For many years past natives have been accustomed to 


collect large numbers of finely- worked flints at certain sites in the 
west of the Fayyum, notably at Dimeh and Kom Ashimt It does 
not appear that any systematic excavation has ever been carried 
out on these sites, but the flints are said to be found on the surface 
unaccompanied by any other remains, e.g. pottery. These flints 
Petrie proposes to connect with those of the Solutrean phase of 
the European Palaeolithic Age, and thus to attribute them to an 
age preceding that of the earliest predynastic tombs, which he 
would equate with the Magdalenian (see above). ^But, not to 
mention other difficulties, the mere fact that such flints occur in 
the Solutrean Period in Europe does not justify the ^belief that 
their date in Egypt is Solutrean, and, consequently, it is advis- 
able to withhold judgment on this matter until such time as the 
Fayyum sites shall have been properly investigated,. 

Unfortunately the Egyptians have recorded practically nothing 
of any value with regard to the history of the Predynastic Period. 
There are three sources to which we can appeal, Manetho's 
History, the Turin Papyrus of Kings, and the Palermo Stone, 
together with the other fragments of the same or a similar monu- 
ment, lately discovered and now preserved in Cairo. Manetho, as 
quoted by Eusebius, records the following details with regard to 
the Predynastic Period: (i) A dynasty of gods, consisting of the 
Great Ennead of Heliopolis in the form in which it was wor- 
shipped at Memphis. (2) A further dynasty of gods, down to the 
time of Bidis, a space of 13,900 years. (This date includes both 
dynasties.) (3) Rule of a race of demigods, 1255 years. (4) Other 
kings, ruling for 1817 years. (5) After these another 30 kings 
from Memphis, 1790 years. (6) Ten kings from This, 350 years. 
(7) Kingdom of departed spirits and demigods, 5813 years, upon 
which follows immediately the 1st Dynasty, headed by Menes. 

From the historical point of view there is little to be made of 
this (see p. 265). Moreover, the first two columns of the Turin 
Papyrus, which deal with the Predynastic Period, are in a lament- 
able condition. The king-list clearly began, however, with a 
dynasty of gods, which included Re, Geb, Osiris, Set, Horus, 
Thoth and Maat. Thereupon follow several totals of years, the 
connexion of which is lost. We then read of 1 9 rulers from Mem- 
phis whose years are 1 1 and some months and days, while the 
next line records rulers (?) in the Delta (?) whose years are over 
2 100* Then, after an obscure reference to 7 women, we apparently 
find * Spirits' the reading is not certain 'Followers of Horus 
3,420 plus x years/ and after this 'Total up to the Followers of 
Horus, 23,200 plus x years/ The next line brings us to Menes 


and the 1st Dynasty. In the papyrus, as In Manetho, we have 
dynasties of gods,, Followers of Horus immediately preceding the 
1st Dynasty, and between the two a group of rulers from Memphis. 
For the scanty information furnished by the Palermo Stone, the 
only early Egyptian annals which have survived; see p. 266 $q. 

Despite the lack of definite contemporary records from the 
Predynastic Period it would seem that attempts were made to put 
on record historical events. Whatever may have been the original 
intention in the making and dedication of the archaic carved slate 
palettes there can be little doubt that some of them show us pic- 
torial representations of actual events. The most famous of them 
all is the palette of Narraer, and, whether we believe this king to 
be the Menes of later Egyptian tradition, or one of his immediate 
predecessors, it is believed by some to record an incident in the 
wars which ended in the subjugation of the north by the south and 
the unification of the Two Egypts (p. 268 j^,). To the same period 
has been assigned, on grounds of style, the Louvre fragment, on 
each side of which is a bull worrying a prostrate human figure 
with prominent nose, apparently curly hair, long square-cut beard, 
and naked except for the pudendal sheath* The two representations 
of walled towns on the reverse, and the standards on the obverse 
which end in hands holding a rope to which prisoners are attached, 
make it clear that the subject of these scenes was a war in which 
some person or tribe, who could be symbolically represented by 
a bull, defeated a tribe or nation whose features were as described 
above. A third palette, that which bears on its reverse the well- 
known giraffes flanking a palm-tree, has been assigned to the 
same period, though, if the stylistic argument is sound, one would 
perhaps expect it to be a little earlier. On the obverse of this we 
see numerous prisoners dead and alive* One is being devoured by 
a lion, perhaps symbolical, as was the bull; while another is being 
lead off by a figure the upper part of which is unfortunately 
lost clad in a long robe covered with a simple decorative pattern 
and ending in a fringe. The prisoners at first sight remind us of 
those in the last palette, for their hair is curly and they have 
rather square beards, in one case apparently shown as plaited. 
But it has been pointed out that these men are not wearing the 
pudendal sheath : what some writers have mistaken for this being 
simply an attempt on the part of the artist to depict a peculiar 
type of circumcision still practised by certain east African tribes. 
It has also been made clear that the object which is partly visible 
in front of the led prisoner is not, as was generally supposed, a 
weight hung round his neck, but a primitive hieroglyphic writing 


of the defeated country, though unfortunately we cannot^ identify 
the place. 

Another fragment of a palette (now in Cairo) which is perhaps 
a little earlier than any of the above, tells a fairly clear story. On 
the obverse four horizontal registers are still left, containing 
respectively a row of oxen, one of asses, one of sheep, and a group 
of trees (identified as olive trees), together with a hieroglyphic 
group representing the country-name Libya. The whole quite 
clearly depicts the booty brought away from a successful campaign 
in Libya (p. 269). On the reverse are seven walled cities, one of 
which is being destroyed by a hawk, another by a lion, another by 
a scorpion, and a fourth by' two hawks on perches. The destroyers 
of the other three cities are lost. It is probable that in these 
animals we should see, not the totem animals of an invading 
tribe, but various symbolical representations of the king of 

Among still earlier palettes, which, to judge by their style, may 
with certainty be assigned to a predynastic date, two show nothing 
but animals and are of greater value to art than to history, while 
the other is quite clearly a hunting scene in which bearded men, 
apparently with curly hair, in which is stuck a feather, clad in 
pleated kilts with a wolf's (?) tail behind, and armed with bows 
and arrows, clubs, lassoes, spears and perhaps double axes, pursue 
lions and other animals. 

Still more striking from the historical point of view is a carved 
ivory knife-handle (now in the Louvre Museum), said to have come 
from Gebel el-Arak in Upper Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile 
opposite Nag c Hamadi (south of Girgeh). The fine ripple flaking 
and minutely toothed edge of the knife make it clear that the 
implement is to be dated back into the Predynastic Period. On 
one side of the handle we find what is clearly a scene of warfare. 
In the two top registers a series of single combats are represented 
between men armed with maces or knives and men totally un- 
armed, with the exception of one, who carries a flint knife. Both 
groups of men are clean-shaven and naked except for the pudendal 
sheath. The unarmed men have a long tress of hair hanging over 
the left shoulder; the armed men show no such tress, though it is 
advisable to remember that they are invariably seen in right pro- 
file, and may have had a tress on the left. Below these two registers 
arc two rows of boats separated by a heap of slain men. The boats 
in the upper of the two rows are totally different from those in the 
lower, and one can hardly resist the inference that the two types 
of boat belong respectively to the two groups of warriors. On the 


other side of the handle is what appears to be a hunting scene. At 
the top a 3 human figure seen In left profile is supported herald! cally 
by twp lions. The appearance of the human figure can only be 
described as totally un-Egyptian. He wears a hemispherical cap 
with thick rolled brim unless this is merely the coiffure and a 
tunic reaching down to below the knees. He has full side-whiskers 
and a thick heavy beard. Below are dogs and various other animals, 
and a hunter whose body has almost disappeared. Another hunter, 
who should balance this one on the right, has been crowded out 
and is to be found on the other side of the handle. He differs in 
no respect from the armed warriors in the scenes of combat (see 
below, pp. 255, 580). 

None can doubt that In the series of objects here described 
something of the history of predynastic times Is written, yet so 
obscurely. In most cases, that the main result has been to puzzle 
us. There are, indeed, happy exceptions. One palette clearly 
records the result of a Libyan campaign of which we have perhaps 
another record in an ivory cylinder from Hieraconpolls on which 
Narmer, in the presence of the falcon-god and the vulture-goddess, 
smites a bearded people marked as Libyans. In the great Narmer 
palette, too, the main details and actors are fairly clear, whether 
or no we accept the conjecture that the defeated enemy were the 
Libyan inhabitants of the Harpoon nome in the north-western 
Delta. But of the rest of these scenes it is uncertain whether they 
represent mere local wars between tribe and tribe, or strife between 
Upper and Lower Egypt, or campaigns by kings of Upper or 
Lower Egypt, or both, against foreign foes. These are questions 
which we are hardly as yet In a position to answer. It has, however, 
been pointed out that in the human beings figured on these 
palettes we have to deal with more than one people. Thus, on the 
obverse of the giraffe-palette the defeated are men with curly hair, 
small beards and slight whiskers, coarse noses and slightly everted 
lips, who show a peculiar kind of circumcision. These are no true 
negroes, though they had obviously too much negro blood in 
their veins to be Egyptians and may have been Hamitic negroids* 
On the palette of Narmer the hair of the defeated is not curly, nor 
are their features negroid, yet one at least shows the same form of 
circumcision as the negroids just described. Both these conquered 
peoples have been assigned to the Hamitic -stock, from which the 
predynastic Egyptians were themselves derived; and the negroid 
features of the one group may be explained on the supposition 
that they were a southern branch who had absorbed much negro 
blood by contact with the peoples of east Africa. 


It must be left for the future to determine the relation between 
any of these three groups and the people wearing the pudendal 
sheath who are shown on each side of the Louvre fragmentrbeing 
gored by a bull, or the two peoples similarly clad on the knife 
handle, or the kilted hunters on the great hunting palette. Suffice 
it to notice that the pointed beard with slight side whisker and 
the pudendal sheath are both known fx*om the tombs to have been 
characteristic of the predynastic Egyptian. Their wearers, there- 
fore, must not be put down as foreigners, as they frequently are, on 
these grounds alone. 

From what direction did predynastic man enter the Nile valley? 
Until quite lately two opposing theories concerning this question 
were in the field. According to one, predynastic Egypt was 
occupied by two peoples, not necessarily of different stock, and 
perhaps both akin to the Mediterranean race, one of whom 
occupied the Fayyum and the Nile valley as far south as Kawamil, 
near Suhag, at that time the northern limit of the known predynastic 
cemeteries, while the other was responsible for the predynastic 
remains which are found in such quantity from here southward, 
and which are thickest in the neighbourhood of Coptos. This 
second people is supposed to have entered Egypt from the east by 
the Wadi Hammamat, and eventually to have conquered the race 
which occupied the lower Nile valley, thus founding United 
Egypt. According to the other theory, the predynastic population 
of the Nile valley was a single indigenous people, akin to the 
Mediterranean race; towards the end of the predynastic period 
a new race of different type entered the country by the Wadi 
Hammamat, coming from Arabia by the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb 
and Koseir. This race is supposed to be Semitic or 'Proto-Semitic' 
in origin, and to have brought with it the elements of proto- 
Babylonian culture, which enabled it to found the Dynastic 
Kingdom of Egypt. 

Such were the two conflicting theories on the subject, for the 
theory of a southern origin has long been without a champion. 
During recent years we have gained a better knowledge of the 
physical type of the earliest Egyptians; and we now know that, 
so far from being strongly negroid and suggestive of a con- 
nexion with the south, the physical type of the predynastic 
Egyptian differed little, if at all, from that of the great long-headed 
people whose various branches inhabited in neolithic times the 
Mediterranean basin and western Europe. Elliot Smith has gone 
further than this : he regards both the Semites of Arabia and the 
Sumerians as branches of this same race, which he calls the Brown 


Race, slightly differentiated from the Egyptians and from one 
another ^by long residence in a different environment. He is not 
prepared to discuss the original home of this race, but he believes 
that both Egyptians and Sumerians had been settled in their 
respective lands many generations before the date of the first of 
their graves known to us. In the case of Egypt this is a point on 
which there is some diversity of opinion, though this need not 
for the moment affect our belief in a relationship between the 
early Egyptian and his Arabian and Sumerian neighbours if we 
wish to do so. It should be noticed that the evidence of language, 
always, however, a most precarious guide, favours a common 
parentage for the Egyptian and the Semite of nearer Asia. The 
Egyptian language in its earliest known form shows important 
affinities with Semitic, which some authorities consider too radical to 
be explained away by the hypothesis of borrowing (but see p. 187). 
Nor have we any reason for supposing that this was not the lan- 
guage used in predynastic times, during which the script, which we 
find in an advanced stage in the 1st Dynasty, was being slowly 
and painfully evolved in the Nile valley. On the other hand, the 
evidence of language does not confirm the belief that the Egyptian 
and Sumerian were of a common stock, though this is in itself no 
evidence against the truth of the belief. See further pp. 2614. 

Attacking the problem fi*om the side of material civilization, 
we may say that for many years archaeologists have called attention 
to features in early Egyptian civilization which have their parallels 
in Mesopotamia and Elam. Thus, for instance, the occurrence of 
the cylinder-seal at an early date in Egypt and in Mesopotamia may 
be more than a coincidence (see p. 263). The style of the carved 
palettes with animals on them is most strikingly paralleled in 
Mesopotamia and in the countries bordering thereon. The lion- 
like animals with serpent necks seen on the palette of Narmer and 
on two of the earlier palettes are exactly paralleled on a Chaldean 
cylinder in the Louvre. Again, a close connexion between the 
motifs of the palettes and knife-handles and those of ancient seals 
and cylinders from Elam has been observed, not so much in the 
similar types of various animals (lions, for instance), as in the 
general system of their grouping, partly round a certain centre, 
partly in continuous rows one over the other, the empty spaces 
sometimes being filled up with animals, sometimes with geometric 
or vegetable ornaments. The Gebel el-Arak knife-handle is an 
even more striking instance than any hitherto found. The figure 
of the man flanked by the two lions on the reverse might have 
come direct from a Mesopotamian monument, and it has been 


suggested that the figure is an Egyptian counterpart of the Baby- 
lonian Gllgamesh subduing the lions. See p. 580^. 

What conclusion is to be drawn from these admittedly staking 
analogies with the east ? While many Egyptologists still prefer to 
hold their hands on the subject, Petrie has argued that a civiliza- 
tion developed in Elam much earlier than in Egypt, that its 
authors, or some of them, migrated from Susa to Egypt, with a 
long halt at some point on the way. -They first reached Egypt 
early in the second prehistoric civilization, after Sequence Date 
40, and continued to enter the country for some considerable 
time. The proof of the influx of this new element is to be seen, on 
this view, in the variations of the long bones of the skeletons found 
in graves of this period at Tarkhan, the newcomers being three or 
four inches shorter than the original Egyptians and temporarily 
shortening the stature of the country. These are the people who 
carved the knife-handle of Gebel el-Arak, 'the ancestors of the 
makers of the slate palettes, of Narmer and his people, and the 
founders of dynastic art/ Whatever the value of this hypothesis, 
here it is only necessary to repeat that Petrie's theory of the priority 
of the Elamite civilization is based wholly on the occurrence in 
its early strata of supposed Solutrean flints, similar to those of the 
Fayyum, which he believes to be earlier than the first predynastic 
graves in Egypt. The cogency of this type of argument from flint 
forms must, however, be regarded as doubtful in the extreme. As 
for the evidence of the bone measurements, the figures given by 
Petrie, if they can be supported by similar results from other sites, 
will indeed constitute a piece of evidence which must be very 
seriously reckoned with. 

The indications which point in the direction of the east are 
certainly unmistakable. But it is a far call from recognizing the 
fact of these indications to furnishing their precise interpretation; 
and it is doubtful whether this can ever be done so long as the 
early civilization of the Delta remains a closed book to us. It must 
not be forgotten that certain striking parallels have been found 
between the cult-objects of the western Delta and those of early 
Crete (see pp. 174^., 591). This suggests that the affinities of this 
early Delta civilization were with the Mediterranean rather than 
with Upper Egypt (see p. 264). But even here we are still in the 
realm of conjecture, and it is clear that nothing but excavation 
can place us on a higher plane. For the present almost every 
new object of any importance dating from these early times in 
Egypt merely serves to convince us, if we are wise, of the extent 
of our ignorance. 




IN passing from the predynastic to the dynastic period we leave 
the interpretation of archaeological and legendary material, 
and pass from the prehistoric to the historic age of Egypt. We 
now for the first time have ancient records to guide us, both con- 
temporary and later. And it is only with the help of the later 
accounts that the contemporary monuments can be understood, 
for at first they are very difficult to comprehend, being archaic 
and unsettled in style and meaning. But about the time of the 
IVth and Vth Dynasties the nation attained its full measure of 
civilization, and Egyptian art and the Egyptian script assumed 
the form which is the framework, so to speak, on which all the 
later developments were fashioned. The statues and reliefs of the 
IVth Dynasty are as * typically Egyptian * in their own way as 
those of any later dynasty, but when we see the artistic representa- 
tions of the first three dynasties we are constantly brought up 
short by unexpected forms and bizarre appearances which failed 
to survive to later days. Under the first three dynasties Egyptian 
art was trying its hand ; it was only under the fourth that a state 
of equilibrium was reached, religious conservatism and artistic 
endeavour having compromised in a convention which, so far as 
representations of the gods were concerned, persisted till the end* 
Antoninus Pius is represented on an Egyptian temple in the 
costume of a king of the Vth Dynasty, some 3000 years earlier. 
This is as true of the writing as of any other form of art. It must not 
be forgotten that Egyptian written records were works of art: the 
painter and the writer were one and the same thing. By the time 
of the IVth Dynasty the forms and arrangement of the hieroglyphs 
had crystallized more or less into those that persisted until the 
end. Naturally we can distinguish at a glance an inscription of the 
Xllth Dynasty from one of the IVth, one of the XlXth from one 
of the Xllth, one of the Ptolemaic period from one of the XlXth. 
The difference in style is obvious. But a Ptolemaic antiquarian 



could have read a IVth Dynasty inscription without much diffi- 
culty, whereas one of the 1st Dynasty would probably have been 
almost as unintelligible to him as to us. By the time of the I Vth- 
Vth Dynasties certain artistic conventions as to arrangement had 
been introduced, and they remained till the end; under the Ilnd 
and Illrd Dynasties the hieroglyphs are still uncertain in form., 
and they are cut haphazard without any particular care as to pro- 
portion and symmetry. 

It is on this account that the divergences of the later king-lists 
from the royal names as we find them on the actual monuments 
of the early dynasties are easily explicable. The most important of 
these lists of royal names, those of Abydos and Sakkarah, were 
compiled at the beginning of the XlXth Dynasty. It would seern 
that about the time of king Seti I, the first monarch of the XlXth 
Dynasty (c. 1320 B.C.), attention had been specially drawn to the 
tombs of the earliest kings at Abydos. Either the king, wishing 
to build there his splendid temple which still stands, and to com- 
memorate his dead 'ancestors/ instructed his historiographers to 
seek out the names of the oldest kings, or, may be, a discovery of 
the early royal tombs moved the king to commemorate his pre- 
decessors by building there a temple and inscribing their names 
in it. The list which he caused to be put up contains among its 
most ancient names several which, as we shall see, are obviously 
misunderstandings and misreadings of the archaic hieroglyphs. 
When the names of the Pyramid-builders (the IVth Dynasty of 
Manetho) are reached, lists and contemporary monuments prac- 
tically agree, and we have, in the duplicate Abydos list of Seti and 
of Hs son Ramses II, the most important ancient authority as to 
the succession of the legitimate monarchs of the whole country. 

The second ancient authority is the famous Turin Papyrus of 
Kings, which gives not only names but regnal years, and in some 
cases even months and days. Had it survived entire, it would have 
been our chief authority. It is in fragments, and much critical 
labour has had to be spent upon it in order to make it intelligible 
when, as is often the case, it gives information as to obscure or 
illegitimate kings not mentioned in the Abydbs list. With this it 
otherwise agrees, and the accuracy of both is usually confirmed 
by the monuments at epochs when, as in the times of the IVth 
Vlth and the Xllth Xlllth Dynasty, we possess detailed know- 
ledge from contemporary authorities. There is, however, a dis- 
crepancy as regards Pepi I (p. 291). It. is of these periods of 
prosperity and power that the later Egyptians like ourselves 
actually had most knowledge. From the style of the writing, and 


from Its agreement with the Abydos list as to the forms of early 
names, \his list would also seem to date from the XlXth 

The list of Sakkarah was set up In the tomb of a royal scribe 
.named Tunurei, who lived in the reign of Ramses II (c. 1300 
1234 B.C.)- It begins, not with the traditional Mena or Men! (the 
Menes of Herodotus and Manetho), but with the king Merbapen 
(Merpeba), the Miebis of Manetho, who both in Manetho and in 
the Abydos list is the fifth successor of Menes. This fact is of 
historical importance, as we shall see later. The forms of the 
names of the earlier kings given by Tunurei are evidently derived 
from a hieratic original of his own time,, such as the Turin 
Papyrus, For the later period this list is in itself not of much value, 
since, though it gives a selection of the most important royal 
names correctly, it turns the kings of the Middle Kingdom back- 
wards, making the Xlllth Dynasty succeed the Vth, and the Xlth 
precede the XVIIIth, The Xllth Dynasty kings are given In their 
correct order but backwards. 

The oldest list, that of Thutmose III (c. 15011447 B.C.) at 
Karnak, is evidently based largely upon tradition rather than 
formal chronicles, but it gives the names of a number of kings, 
known to us from monuments, that do not appear In the more 
reliable lists of the XlXth Dynasty. Such catalogues as these were 
not made for the first time under the XVIIIth and XlXth 
Dynasties, We know that much earlier lists existed, and not only 
lists but annals, inscribed upon stone stelae set up as public 
monuments, and we have portions of such dating from the time 
of the Vth Dynasty (c. 29652825 B.C., or in round numbers 
2950-2800) in the * Palermo Stone' and other fragments of 
similar annal-stelae. These contained records of every regnal year 
back to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, and gave the names of 
predynastic kings also. Had they been perfect they would have 
settled many disputed questions : as it Is, even in their fragmentary 
condition they are invaluable on account of their nearness in time 
to the most ancient period. 

The lists of the XlXth Dynasty are undoubtedly the basis of 
Manetho's work. But the Ptolemaic historiographer also used 
continuous annals, legendary and historical, which we no longer 
possess. These gave him the reasons for his division of the kings 
into dynasties, which are not Indicated in the lists, though the 
Turin Papyrus especially distinguishes the monarchs of the Old 
Kingdom (Manetho's IVIII Dynasties) from those of the Middle 
Kingdom (Manetho's IX-XVII Dynasties). The break in his- 


torlcal continuity between the two Is fully recognized (see p. 298). 
Manetho goes further in recording the minor breaks 'between 
successive ruling families; and so far as we are able to chesk him 
from the contemporary monuments his division into dynasties is 
entirely justified. His authorities evidently were good. But un- 
happily his work has come down to us only in copies of copies; 
and, although the framework of the dynasties remains., most of his 
royal names, originally Graecized, have been so mutilated by non- 
Egyptian scribes, who did not understand their form, as often to 
be unrecognizable, and the regnal years given by him have been 
so corrupted as to be of little value unless confirmed by the Turin 
Papyrus or the monuments. 

The royal names given by Herodotus and Diodorus are entirely 
derived from tradition, recounted to them by Egyptian priests. 
Sometimes they are by no means bad representatives of the real 
names, especially in the case of the Pyramid-builders. But the true 
course of history was entirely deformed by the * Father of History/ 
and he makes the IVth Dynasty immediately precede the XXVIth, 
for reasons intelligible to students of Egyptian art, for the Sa'ite 
period was one of archaism, which carefully imitated in its monu- 
ments the style of the Pyramid-builders, All other 'classical' 
authorities are entirely valueless. 

To the skeleton supplied by Manetho even Champollion was 
able to fit many of the monuments then discovered, soon after his 
decipherment of the hieroglyphs (p. 1 1 6 j^*). But he mixed up the 
Xllth Dynasty with the Ethiopians of the XXVth, and J, G. 
Wilkinson was the first to discover the correct position of the 
kings of the XII th Dynasty, Lepsius merely confirmed the truth 
of Wilkinson's discovery. The finding of the Abydos list in 1864 
(by Dumichen) settled the correct articulation of the skeleton. 
Since that time the work of fitting the kings, whose contemporary 
monuments we have, into the scheme, controlled and corrected 
by their own contemporary statements, has gone on until, at the 
beginning of the century, with the correct placing (by Steindorff) 
in the XHIth Dynasty of certain kings formerly supposed to 
belong to the Xlth, we had reached comparative certainty as far 
back as the end of the IHrd Dynasty, The earliest kings still 
remained unknown from contemporary monuments, and were 
generally relegated to the realm of legend, if not of fable. Then, 
at the turn of the century, came the discovery of the earliest royal 
tombs at Abydos, which in the time of the XlXth Dynasty had 
presumably turned the attention of the scribes of that time to the 
most ancient kings. Their lists and Manetho were aerain Justified 


in the main; the contemporary monuments of many of the kings 
of the first three dynasties were found, giving the real forms of 
the names that the later list makers had often misunderstood. But 
for the beginning of the 1st Dynasty it is evident that the Menes 
legend., the story of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, 
which was no doubt as well known in the time of Seti as in that 
of Herodotus, had to some extent confused the list-makers. Better 
interpretations of the Palermo Stone, new fragments of which 
have been recently published, and further archaeological dis- 
coveries, are enabling us to find our way even into the days before 
Menes, who though a legendary figure was no imaginary creation, 
since he was a real king, but in legend has attracted to himself 
the deeds of others who preceded and followed him, 

The question of the date of Menes and the unification of the 
kingdom has already been treated, and it has been urged that it 
cannot be placed later than about 3500 B.C. (p. 171). We have 
also seen that during the long predynastic age the Nile-dwellers 
passed from the use of stone to that of metals, and developed in 
the Delta and in Upper Egypt the Egyptian culture, which meets 
us in its own peculiar and characteristic guise, with its cult of the 
dead, its religion, its hieroglyphs, its art, and its state-organiza- 
tion, albeit in an archaic and comparatively primitive stage of 
development. This development has been ascribed to the infiltra- 
tion into Egypt from Syria of an alien race (* Armenoids *), who 
brought to the Nile-land a higher brain-capacity than that of the 
native Hamitic population, and therewith developed the native 
prehistoric culture into the ancient Egyptian civilization which 
we know. See pp. 244 sy. 9 254 sq. 

The impulse to this movement was given before the actual 
unification of the kingdom and the founding of the 1st Dynasty. 
Until recent years it has generally been supposed that it was given 
by an invasion of 'Horns-Egyptians' from the south, either by 
way of the Wadi Hammamat (which reaches the Nile valley at 
Coptos, leaving the Red Sea at Koseir), or through Nubia. We 
certainly seem to have echoes of a conquest of Egypt from the 
south (and so entirely distinct from the *Armenoid* infiltration 
from the north) in the legends of the god Horus and his followers, 
assisted by the Mesentiu (usually, but very doubtfully, translated 
* smiths') of Edfu (the city of Horus) against the Intiu or aboriginal 
inhabitants of the Nile valley. The sky-god, Horus of Edfu, 
whose emblem was the falcon, was the oldest supreme deity of 
Upper Egypt, and the special protector of the royal house. He is 
represented in the legend as coming from Nubia with his followers 


and his 'Mesentiu,' overthrowing the Intiu (who were the fol- 
lowers of his rival Set), until he finally expelled them from the 
Delta into Asia, much as the later Egyptians expelled the Hy ksos. 
Probably the legend, as we know it from Ptolemaic sources, has 
been contaminated by the stories of the union of the kingdom by 
the Horus-kings of the south (Menes) and of the expulsion of the 
Hyksos. The Intiu (whose name should mean 'pillar-folk') prob- 
ably represent the main stock of the Hamitic Nilotes, akin to the 
Mediterraneans and to the pre-Semitic inhabitants of Palestine, 
who, it may be presumed, gave to the Semites their worship of 
sacred trees and pillars (baetyK). These Intiu left traces of their 
name in Upper as well as Lower Egypt, at Dendera as well as at 
Heiiopolis (On). Set, 'the brother' of Horus, was originally an 
Upper Egyptian god (of Ombos) like him, and was only estab- 
lished in the Delta in later times, when the mention of him would 
naturally cause it to be supposed that Horus had expelled him 
from the Delta. Originally the legend may have been perhaps 
merely that of a more energetic tribe of Hamites, following the 
banner of the falcon, who came from the south and subdued their 
kinsmen, the pillar-folk of Upper Egypt. To assume, on the 
authority of the translation of the word Mesentiu as * smiths/ that 
they effected this conquest by means of their knowledge of metal, 
is, however, more than doubtful, as it is probable that the word 
has no such meaning. 

The Egyptians doubtless obtained their knowledge of copper- 
working from Mesopotamia by way of Syria, probably through 
the c Armenoid' race, which must already have made its appearance 
in Lower Egypt long before the end of the predynastic period. 
The land of Magan, which is mentioned in Sumerian Babylonian 
inscriptions of the fourth millennium B.C. as yielding copper, if 
rightly identified with Sinai, would suggest that Babylonians as 
well as Egyptians obtained copper from that peninsula. It would 
seem probable that the 'Armenoids,' if they also brought copper 
with, them, originally obtained it from further north, the mountains 
of the modern Armenia, as the Mesopotamians no doubt originally 
did* When the Egyptians took to using copper, a nearer source 
of the metal was found in Sinai, and the Babylonians also utilized 
it, going thither by sea in ships from the Persian Gulf. *Magan* 
means the land of ships, the land to which ships go, and it is 
obvious that much heavier masses of ore could be transported in 
a ship's hold than on donkey-back to the head waters of the 
Euphrates and Tigris and thence southward on rafts* 

A certain amount of Mesopotamian influence may have reached 


Egypt at this time, traces of which have been found in the simi- 
larity of Babylonian and Egyptian mace-heads (p. 582), and the 
cornr&on use of the cylinder-seal, and of recessed brick walls. The 
invention of brick itself was no doubt of independent origin in both 
countries, as the shapes of the early Babylonian and the Egyptian 
brick are quite different. The cylinder-seal seems rather exotic in 
Egypt, where it died out at the beginning of the XVII Ith Dynasty, 
whereas in Mesopotamia it remained till the end (see pp, 255, 
581 sg.*). In Egypt it is first made of wood (originally a section of 
reed ?), and may be an independent development. But the style of 
building with recessed walls and the common shape of the mace- 
head are not so easily explained away. However, whatever influence 
existed was slight, and Egyptian culture was little affected by it, 
The characteristic writing-system of Egypt had not, so far as we 
can yet see, a common origin with that of Mesopotamia, nor was 
it influenced by it. The Mesopotamian writing-system, originally 
hieroglyphic, had already become simplified into a semi-cuneiform 
system when the Egyptian script was still an archaic picture- 
writing. Whether the latter owes its origin to the Hamitic 
Egyptians or to the invading 'Armenoids* we do not know. It 
makes a very sudden appearance in Upper Egypt shortly before 
the unification, and this points to its having been introduced 
from the Delta. An ultimate Syro-Mediterranean origin is 

There can be no doubt now that the impetus to the development 
of civilization was given by these Armenoids from the north; 
their skulls testify to the fact that their brain-capacity was greater 
than that of the native Hamites, their remains are found gradually 
percolating southward till, in the Illrd Dynasty, they are in Upper 
Egypt, and by the time of the Vth they are merging with the 
general population. We see their facial type, quite different from 
that of the 'Karaite Egyptians, in the statues of the great men of 
the court of the Pyramid-builders. They are powerful, big-boned, 
big-skulled people with broad faces and * mesa ti cephalic' heads, 
quite different from the slight, small-boned, long-headed, narrow- 
chinned and bird-like Arabs and Hamites; quite different again 
from the typical Anatolian 'Hittite,' with his big nose, retreating , 
chin, and'brachycephalic skull, and differing in face from the 
Syrian * Semite' (the 'Jewish' type), though resembling him in 
skull form. If, as has been conjectured, the Syrian type is the 
result of a fusion of * Armenoids' with the real Semitic Arab (who 
is first cousin of the Hamite), the Egyptian Armenoids rnust have 
belonged to the vanguard of the invasion, which passed on into 


Egypt before it had time to mix with the Semites or the related 
Mediterranean-Harnitic aboriginal population of Palestine! Where 
these 'Armen oids" came from is uncertain, although we .might 
well assign to them a common origin in middle Asia with the very 
similar 'Alpine' type of central Europe. 

However this may be, in Lower Egypt we find them as the 
dominant civilized aristocracy at the beginning of things, and it is 
by no means improbable that the ruling race of Upper Egypt, to 
which the unifiers of the kingdom belonged, were of 'Armenoid* 
origin. The invaders were originally few in number, and so they 
formed a ruling caste which adopted the civilization of the con- 
quered, and developed it. In the Delta they probably found 
civilization (of a primitive c Mediterranean ' type) much more ad- 
vanced than in the Upper country (see p. 256). What elements they 
contributed to the ensuing common civilization we cannot yet tell. 
The hieroglyphic system and all the accompanying culture that 
it implies may have been theirs, but was more likely * Medi- 
terranean/ The main stuff of the religion of Egypt, on the other 
hand, the characteristic animal-gods and most other of the more 
fundamental beliefs, must be Nilotic and belong to the Hamite 
indigenes. The god Osiris, however, at all events appears to be 
of Syrian origin, and so are the cultivation of wine and of wheat, 
both of which are associated with him* The Egyptian knowledge 
of bee-keeping and of honey was possibly also of Syrian origin, 
It Is significant that the ancient formal title of the king of Lower 
Egypt was *the Bee-man* or * Honey~man ' (byati). Certainly 
Palestine, 'the land of milk and honey 9 is more naturally the 
original home of agriculture than Egypt. But whether Osiris is 

* Arm en oid' or (perhaps more probably) belongs to the * Medi- 
terranean* pre-Semites of Palestine we do not know. 

Accordingly, we see Egypt originally inhabited by a stone-using 
Hamitic race, related to the surrounding Semites, Libyans, and 
Mediterraneans. A second wave of the same race then comes, 
perhaps from the south. A foreign race, metal-using, then invades 
from Syria. It starts the great development of culture and founds 
a northern kingdom in the Delta, where a primitive culture 
akin to that of the 'Mediterranean' Cretans and Aegean islanders 
probably already existed. No actual traces of such a primitive 

* Mediterranean ' culture in the Delta have yet been found, but 
its existence Is inherently probable, and many possible Indications 
of It may be seen in the later religious representations peculiar to 
the Delta, To it may have been due the invention of the hiero- 
glyphic writing. At all events, kings of this invading race came 



ultimately to rule the south and unite the two kingdoms under 
their scSptre. 

W& have no means yet of estimating the duration of the period 
of the separate existence of the two kingdoms of the north and 
south, before the unification. Four centuries, perhaps, passed 
before this Egyptian civilization had progressed so far that the 
calendar was fixed, and the number of the months ordained, with 
the five intercalary days 'over and above the year/ It may have 
been in the year 4241 (or 4238) B.C* that this advance in civiliza- 
tion was made, as a Sothic period begins in that year. The year 
2781 (or 2778) is too late, as before that time the calendar was 
already in full working order. Hence we must go back 1460 years, 
to about four or five centuries before the founding of the mon- 
archy, for the institution of the calendar, apparently in Lower 
Egypt (see pp. 168, 248 ^.). At that time no doubt the southern 
and northern dynasties existed, as the establishment of a calendar 
demands a state organization, with a royal will to direct it. And the 
hieroglyphic writing-system must also have existed in its beginnings. 

In the forty-third century B.C., therefore, we perhaps find 
Egypt already divided into two civilized communities, each under 
its own king. These kings of Upper and of Lower Egypt are 
those called by Manetho the 'dead demigods* (yeKvzs oi ypi- 
00i). This appellation points to the fact that even to the early 
Egyptians they were shadowy figures of legend; for there is no 
doubt that Manetho's authorities, like those of his brother- 
chronicler, Berosus in Babylonia, were ancient. Probably the Old 
Kingdom Egyptians already regarded them as demigods. The 
predynastic kings of Upper Egypt were known to the later 
Egyptians as the 'Followers of Horus' (Shemsu-Hor)^ meaning 
either that they followed the falcon-god of Upper Egypt, Horus, 
upon the Hieraconpolite throne, or that they followed him to war 
in the legendary contest with Set, which we have already noticed. 
Probably both meanings were understood. As the representative 
of the falcon-god the king of Upper Egypt bore his name on a 
banner in the form of a palace-front, known as the serekfa, or 
'Proclaimer, 1 surmounted by the figure of the falcon* This is 
known to us generally as his 'Horns-name, 7 his name as Horus, 
as king, which was assumed at his accession* 

The traditional centres of the two kingdoms were the cities of 
Sais and Buto in the Delta and those of Hieraconpolis and Edfu 
in the south. The memory of the original Dual State was always 
preserved. Neither was wholly absorbed into the other at the 
unification. The south conquered the north, but the north was 


admitted nominally, at least, to equal dignity with the dominating 
south. The monarch of the united kingdom was not r king of 
Egypt only, but king of Upper and Lower Egypt (In$-byai 
conventional transcription Nst-iytf). The Insi, the king of Upper 
Egypt, comes first, thus marking the primacy of the Upper 
Egyptian conqueror over the Byati or king of the Delta; and the 
ordinary Egyptian word for "king* Is insi 1 . The king is 'lord of 
the two lands' though it has been suggested that this means 
lord of the two Nile banks; he is lord of the Upper Egyptian 
Vulture (since the vulture-goddess, Nekhebet, was the deity of 
Hieraconpolis), and of the Lower Egyptian Uraeus (since the 
serpent was the emblem of Uto, the goddess of Buto in the Delta), 
and so on. This last title seems to have been used from earliest 
times. And also from the first, union of both lands under one head 
was marked by the wearing by the earliest kings of the 1st Dynasty 
of the two peculiar crowns, the red crown of Lower Egypt and 
the white crown of Upper Egypt, And In the middle of the 
dynasty, Semtl Den, who was the first king to use the title insibya^ 
combined the two into one crown in which the white crown was 
the uppermost as the senior. But the memory of the older wearers 
of the red crown was not proscribed. They had been the legitimate 
kings of the Delta, And as such they were commemorated in the 
official records of the kingdom, 

The annals of the Old Kingdom, engraved upon stone stelae, 
and set up under the Vth Dynasty in various places, of which we 
have scattered specimens in the fragments of the 'Palermo Stone* 
and its congeners (see p. 259), gave lists of the pre-Menic kings 
of Lower as well as of Upper Egypt, each name being determined 
by a figure of the dead king wearing his peculiar white or red 
crown. The names of some of these early Delta kings are preserved: 
Tin, Thesh, Hsekiu, Uaznar, and others; they are primitive in 
form. No names of the early Hieraconpolite kings are preserved 
upon the extant fragments of the Vth Dynasty Annals; we know, 
however, that they existed thereon, from the occurrence, below a 
break in the stone, of the sign of the king wearing the white 
crown, which Is the * determinative* of a king of Uppef Egypt. 

1 Professor Newberry has pointed out to the present writer that the Insi 
(^neset* or 'suten') was, not improbably, not the king of Upper Egypt proper, 
but of Middle Egypt, the portion of the Nile- valley of which Heracleopolis 
was the centre, immediately south of the Delta. Here was the Het-insi, 'the 
House of the InsiJ and it is probable that the title Insi was first adopted after 
the conquest of this territory by the Horus kings of the south. Very soon it 
meant king of Upper Egypt generally. 



The names of some of the pre-Menic kings of the south may 
have been preserved among relics discovered at Abydos, but It is 
probable that only two of these,, Ro and 'the Scorpion' (the cursive 
form of whose Horus-name was read by Petrie as *Ka'), were 
really kings at all. Ro, who is merely called 'the Horus Ro/ is 
probably a genuine pre-Menic king of the South* 'The Scorpion/ 
whose personal name was Ip, is called Horus and Insi (not /#j/- 
bya)+ He is known from monuments at Hieraconpolis which from 
their style must be placed immediately before those of Narmer or 
Narmerza, the conqueror of the north and unifier of the kingdom. 
The 'Scorpion* also conquered the north, and was probably the 
first to do so, his work being completed by Narmer, whose suc- 
cessor, Ahai or Aha, was the first to reign undisputed over united 
Egypt. The Scorpion ruled undoubtedly as far north as the apex 
of the Delta, as his name has been found at Turra. A short distance 
further south both he and Narmer appear at Tarkhan, near Kafir 
Ammar, between Cairo and Wasta. These kings, with Aha, are 
the historical originals of the legendary 'Menes/ the Mena or 
Meni of the Abydos list, 

From a newly discovered fragment of the Palermo Stone it 
would seem that the personal name of the king whose Horus-name 
was Zer was Atoti, who in the Abydos list is the second successor 
of Meni. In Manetho his immediate successor, Zer (Athothis), 
judging by the style of his monuments, succeeded Aha. The 'Teti f 
of the lists who precedes Atoti, will then be Aha, and Meni will 
be Narmer. Thus 'the Scorpion* appears neither in the lists, nor 
in Manetho, who based his work on them. But he undoubtedly 
belongs as much to the 1st Dynasty as does Narmer. Both Narmer 
and Aha seem to have borne also the appellation 'Men/ *Teti* 
may in reality be a mere reduplication of Atoti, due to confusion 
in the traditional accounts, Aha being really Menes II, and Narmer 
Menes L In legends not only Narmer, but the Scorpion also, are . 
evidently included in the saga of Menes, who thus appears to be 
a * conflate' personage of. legend, bearing the name of the third of 
the great kings of the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, but including 
the deeds of all three. The dominating personality of the three is 
the first historical Menes, Narmer (c* 3500 B.C.). The later list 
makers were confused by the fact that in Narmer and Aha they 
had two claimants to the honour of being * Meni/ hence they 
transferred the former to a later period, reading his Horus-name, 
Narmer or Narmerza, as 'Buzau/ the Boethos of Manetho, who 
follows the lists in placing him at the beginning of his Ilnd Dynasty. 
Such are the conclusions to which the progress of discovery seems 


to lead us; but It must be borne in mind that a new discovery may at 
any moment cause us to revise our statements as to these early kings 1 . 
The chief monument of the ( Scorpion' at Hieraconpolis is great 
ceremonial mace-head of stone (now at Oxford), on which are reliefs 
of crude vigour representing the royal hawk swooping in conquest,, 
and rows of miserable-looking crested birds, rekhyut (the ideograph 
of "mankind '), hung by their necks from standards bearing repre- 
sentations of the sacred animals of the south, and thus symbolizing 
conquest by the southerners. With this were found the famous 
relics of Narmer, perhaps the most remarkable monuments of 
archaic Egyptian art; vix* another ceremonial mace-head (now at 
Oxford), and the ceremonial 'palette' (at Cairo). This latter is a 
formal development of the slate palette, on which the primitive 
Egyptians mixed paint; it is constantly found in the predynastic 
tombs, and apparently one of the first objects to which the nascent 
art of the Egyptian decorator was turned* On the mace-head we 
see the king celebrating the 6W~festival ? which has been regarded 
as the survival of an ancient custom (with many parallels elsewhere) 
of killing the king at the end of a thirty-years' reign. This 
custom was probably in abeyance by Narmer's time: we do not 
suppose the monument actually commemorates his forcible death, 
though he may have been deposed. Later on, it was always cele- 
brated by the king, dressed up as the mummy, Osiris, and not 
always after a thirty-years' reign; it became one of the many 
pompous ceremonies in which the Pharaoh had to take the leading 
part. On the palette we see him wearing the red crown, inspecting 
the headless bodies of slain northerners, attended by his vizier 
(zati) 'the Man/ as opposed to 'the God/ /.<?. the king) and his 
cup- and sandal-bearer (won-hir^ * face-opener*), while four men 
carry before him the standards of the gods. He, now wearing the 

1 Prof. Breasted has recently argued from a fragment of the Palermo 
Stone that a long row of kings ruled both lands before the time of Menes 
and the 1st Dynasty. But it should be remembered that the figures often pre- 
dynastic kings wearing the double crown in these records need not necessarily 
mean that they were kings of Upper as well as of Lower Egypt: at that time 
the white crown was. Prof. Newberry maintains, originally the crown of 
Middle Egypt* the c Houseof the InsiJ the wearer of the White Crown, being 
Atfih (Aphroditopolis) not far from Cairo and the Delta. The ten kings with 
the double crown found by Breasted will then be pre-Menic kings, not of the 
whole of Egypt, but only of Lower and Middle Egypt. The Horus-hawk is 
the sign of the king of Upper Egypt, and it was the Horus * Scorpion * who 
conquered from the south to the apex of the Delta and the Horus Narmerza 
who conquered the Delta and became the original Menes of legend, the 
first unifier of the whole country. 



white crown, also strikes with his mace a northerner, who is 
labelled"* * Harpoon-marsh * (the Harpoon-nome in the north- 
west JDelta), while the falcon of Horns holds a human head, 
representing a northerner, by a rope through his nose, meanwhile 
standing on a group of six papyrus plants that probably means 
'the North,' three such plants being the simplified sign for this 
in the developed hieroglyphic script. Below, on one side, a bull 
breaks through the recess-walled encampment of a northerner, 
whom he tramples under foot, while three displaced bricks and 
the gap in the wall show the energy of his attack: in the enclosure 
is a tent with two poles. Below, on the other side, two northerners 
escape, looking back in terror, to seek 'fortress-protection/ as the 
hieroglyphs tell us. 

Other fragments of similar monuments of this time, commemo- 
rating the conquest of the north, are in our museums. One in the 
Louvre shows the royal bull goring a northerner, while below on 
one side the standards of the southern gods, Anubis, Uapuaut, 
Thoth, Horus and Min, grasp, each with a human hand, a rope 
which drags some other captive whose figure is broken off. On 
another we see the animal-emblems of the king (?) break through 
with hoes into the square crenellated enclosures of towns whose 
names are shown by hieroglyphs, * Owl-town,* * Ghost-town, * and 
others of which we do not know the meaning. One is struck by 
the naive energy of this commemorative art, which has preserved 
for us a contemporary record of the founding of the Egyptian 
kingdom, and possibly a Libyan war (p. 252). 

It has been supposed that Narmer actually met the redoubtable 
Naram-Sin of Babylonia in battle and was worsted by him. There 
is no absolute impossibility in the view, though it rests on a 
slender foundation (see p. 172). He undoubtedly warred against 
the Libyan tribes of the western Delta and his successor, Aha, - 
against the Nubians. Aha is supposed to have been the first to 
conquer the district between Silsileh and Aswan, which has always 
been somewhat distinct from the rest of Upper Egypt, and is now 
inhabited not by Egyptians but by Nubians. His successors were 
constantly involved in warlike operations on the newly acquired 
frontier of 'the land of the bow,' as the district of the First 
Cataract was then called. The native inhabitants appear to have 
been Beja tribes ('Mentiu of Sati') and people closely akin to 
the Upper Egyptians ('Intiu of Sati'). Nubia was then still 
inhabited by Hamites very nearly related to the Egyptians; the 
negro advance noticeable at the end of the Old Kingdom had not 
yet begun ; no negroes appear on the monuments of the earliest 


dynasties. The modern Nubians up to as far north as Silsileh are 
not Egyptians or Hamltes at all, but a true negro tribe," now of 
course much crossed with pure Hamites like the Abadeh and 
Beja, and with the mixed race, Hamite, * Mediterranean/ Libyan, 
'Armenoid/ Syrian-Semite and Negro of Egypt. 

Both Aha and his successor Zer (or Khent) Atoti were either 
buried or possessed cenotaph-tombs in the necropolis of Abydos. 
We do not know whether these were real tombs or not, as Aha 
also possessed a great brick tomb at Nakada, not very far away, 
and on the whole this is more likely to have been his real tomb. 
The same is probable for Zer. The tombs of Narmer and the 
Scorpion are unknown. Another king who, to judge by the style 
of the vases, inscribed tablets, etc., found in his tomb, succeeded 
Zer, was also buried or possessed a cenotaph at Abydos. His 
Horus-name was Za (represented by the single snake hieroglyph, 
Za or Zet); he is the *Ata* of the lists. The name of his successor, 
Sernti ('Two Deserts'), was misread by the list-makers as Hsapti 
('trfro Nomes'). His Horus-name was Den (or Udimu); and he 
was the first 'Insibya/ A queen of the time is named 'Merneit/ 
i.e. "beloved of Neith/ Neith was the warrior-goddess worshipped 
in the Delta at Sais, the '^Jet-byati* or * House of the Bee-man, 9 
who was the king of Lower Egypt. Aha, too, had married a 
princess of Sais named Neit-hotep, and both alliances with the 
north were no doubt politic measures, devised to secure the loyalty 
of the conquered Delta. They did not altogether succeed, as later 
on, at the beginning of the IHrd Dynasty, the southern king, 
Khasekhem, had to reconquer the north, after which he again 
married a northern princess, with the final result of the abandon- 
ment of Upper Egypt as the seat of royal power, and the adminis- 
tration of the country from Memphis. The royal house and court 
became northern in fact as well as by descent* 

From the relics found in SemtPs tomb or cenotaph at Abydos 
we see already a rich and picturesque civilization, energetic and 
full of new ideas, both artistic and of a more practical character. 
Gold and ivory and valuable wood were lavishly used for small 
objects of art, fine vases of stone were made,, and the wine of the 

frape (irp) was kept in great pottery vases stored in magazines 
ke those of the pithoi at Cnossus. The art of making blue glass 
and faience, that typically Egyptian art, had already been invented. 
One of the treasures from the tomb of Semti (in the British Museum) 
is the lid of the ivory box in which was kept his golden judgment 
seal: it is inscribed 'Golden Seal of Judgment of King Den/ In 
this tomb also, as in those of other kings of the time, were found 



a number of small Ivory plaques, stated In their inscriptions to 
have been made by the king's carpenter. Each contains the 
offici#4 records of the events of a single year: thus on one of these 
(in the British Museum) we find chronicled In the naive archaic 
hieroglyphs of the time a river expedition to the north-land and 
the capture of a fortified place, the latter shown as a broken 
enceinte within which is its name, with the hoe outside signifying 
the breaking down of the wall, as on the earlier stone fragments 
already mentioned above (p. 269). We find on the same tablet 
also the statement that in this year 'the Falcon (i.e. the king) 
seized the abodes of the Libyans/ and the name of the viceroy of 
the north, Hemaka, is mentioned. This personage appears to have 
been the chief man of his time, and his name appears upon 
numbers of the high conical clay sealings of the wine-jars, which 
were impressed by means of cylinder-seals. All these little tablets 
are the records of single years of the king's life, and they, and 
others like them belonging to the reigns of other early kings, 
formed the basis of regular annals, which, at least as early as the 
time of the Vth Dynasty, and probably before, were carved upon 
stone monuments (see p. 1 66). The 'Palermo Stone* and the other 
fragments of similar annal-stelae are examples. In some years we 
find little recorded but the celebration of some festival or the 
founding of a temple or palace; In others details are given as to the 
royal warlike activity. Chroniclers then existed, official recorders, 
scribes, probably tax-gatherers and all the apparatus that apper- 
tains to a regular and settled administration. 

Wealth came to the court and encouraged the work in metal, 
fine stones, ivory and wood of the artists who now laid the 
foundations of Egyptian art* Besides the artists who made the 
annal-tablets, there were the carvers, like the man who made the 
extraordinary little Ivory figure (now in the British Museum) of 
an early king, wearing the white crown and a strange long woven 
and carpet-like robe, unlike anything in later Egyptian costume 
but distinctly Babylonian in appearance with its fringed border 
(see p. 573). It is about the age of Semti and may represent that 
king; it shows that weaving in carpet patterns was already known. 
There were the 'king's jewellers/ like the man who made the 
wonderful little bracelets of gold and carnelian beads that once 
encircled the arms of Zer's queen, or the sceptre of sard and gold 
that belonged to a king. There were the king's barbers, like the 
man who made the little fringe of false curls that somebody wore 
who was buried in the precinct of the tomb of Zer. There were 
the incense-makers who compounded their 'sanctified* (snutrf) 


product of myrrh and sweet-savoured gums. The royal carpenters 
and cabinet-makers could make furniture of elaborate type; the 
well-known bull's hoof motif for chair-legs already appears. In 
fact, to enumerate no further, Egyptian civilization, so far as the 
court was concerned, was already luxurious under the 1st Dynasty. 

The king was no doubt the absolute lord of all. He was sur- 
rounded by a court of nobles and * great men/ like the vizier 
Hemaka; the people were ruled and judged by the king and his 
chiefs. When he died he was buried in a tomb which was a sort of 
apotheosis of the tombs of his subjects, and in the development 
marked by the successive royal tombs we have a good representa- 
tion of the general development of civilization. Whereas Aha had 
a brick tomb roofed with wood covered with earth, Semti's tomb 
was for the first time floored with granite blocks; and at the begin- 
ning of the Illrd Dynasty Khasekhemui's great brick-built 
sepulchre, also at Abydos, contains a tomb chamber wholly con- 
structed of hewn limestone. With it begins the development 
which so soon was to culminate in the Pyramids. The royal tomb 
was called Sa-ha-Hor y *Protection-around-the~Falcon' (i.e. the 
king as Horus). The king's burial chamber was surrounded by a 
number of smaller tombs in which, apparently, were interred 
either the great men of his court or a number of his slaves who 
accompanied him to the next world. 

Of priests and embalmers, who afterwards became so important, 
we hear nothing as yet, though later tradition had it that in Semti's 
time chapters of the funerary ritual, the * Chapters of Coming 
forth by Day* (which we call 'The Book of the Dead') were 
written, and books of medicine also. We can imagine the sooth- 
sayer and medicine-man as prominent at his court, as in other 
communities in a similar state of civilization. Such people, and the 
chiefs themselves, were the priests. The characteristic Egyptian 
cult of the dead, though it existed, has not yet developed into the 
great worship of the deity who, to many of us ? summarizes most 
of what we know of Egyptian religion, Osiris. The dead man is 
not yet identified with Osiris nor have efforts to preserve the body 
of the * Osirian * in the next world yet resulted in the production 
of a mummy. From the beginning this cult of the dead was un- 
doubtedly a main feature of Nilotic religion. Busiris in the Delta 
was, presumably, already the seat of the worship of the dead god, 
Osiris, but we hear nothing of him in the south. The Memphite 
district already had no doubt its own dead god, Sekri or Socharis, 
'the coffined one/ represented by a dead hawk, later identified 
with the other gods of the same district, Hapi the bull, and Ptah, 


who was already represented as a swathed form closely related to 
that of Osiris, and probably already also as a misshapen dwarf. In 
the so^ith we find the wolf-god of the dead, Upuaut, the 'opener 
of the ways/ at Siut; and at Abydos the jackal Anubis, c on his 
hill/ 'in the Oasis '(?), more primitive conceptions than the anthro- 

gDmorphic Osiris and Ptah, and originating in the primitive 
gyptian's barbaric desire to placate the wolf or jackal who 
prowled round the desert-graves of his people at night and rooted 
up their bodies to devour them. A more civilized conception later 
on spoke of Anubis as Khentamentiu, 'the head of the Westerners/ 
the graves being then placed usually on the western bank of the 
Nile (though not always, e.g. at Naga ed-Der), and eventually these 
deities -were all more or less amalgamated as Osiris, with whom 
Khentamentiu was Identified, while Anubis and Upuaut became 
lesser genii at his side. 

Mummification is rare before the Vlth Dynasty (p. 288) and 
was still not usual even under the Xllth. The human-faced coffins, 
which we know so well in every museum, first began under the 
Xllth Dynasty, as inner cases within the great rectangular wooden 
chests that are characteristic of that period and of former times 
at least as far back as the Vlth Dynasty. No doubt they are older 
than this; we see that they develop from smaller wooden chests, 
such as those in which the bodies of 1st Dynasty people were 
buried at Tarkhan. The great stone sarcophagi probably first 
began under the IVth Dynasty as imitations In stone of the 
wooden chests. 

Semti was succeeded by Merpeba, whose personal name was 
Bnezib (Antjab), a king who is remarkable only from the fact that 
in the Memphite lists of kings he is the first to be commemorated, 
Menes being ignored (p, 259). This looks as If he were in reality 
the founder of Memphis, and as if the credit of his foundation had 
been transferred to the legendary Menes, or, to put it in another 
way, as if he were the 'Menes* who founded Memphis. Yet the 
town of the * White Wall 7 certainly existed before his time, prob- 
ably in predynastic days; and Merpeba can only be allowed the 
credit of perhaps being the first to make it the seat of the royal 
government in the north. The name * Memphis' was not acquired 
until the time of the Vlth Dynasty. 

Merpeba was followed by Semerkhet, whose personal name is 
written as the picture of a walking warrior armed with a stick, 
which may have been read Nekhti or Hui, 'the strong/ or 'the 
striker/ by his contemporaries, but was read by the XlXth Dynasty 
scribes as Shemsu ('the follower'), owing to the resemblance of the 


hieroglyph for *to follow* (a 'shorthand' ideograph, ^wrongly 
taken to be of a warrior walking) to the archaic sign of Semerkhet's 
name. With him we reach a new development of Egyptian energy. 
Other kings before him had warred with the tribes on the frontiers; 
he appears to have been the first who actually invaded the mount- 
ain-fastnesses of Sinai, and certainly was the first to cut upon the 
rocks there a record of his invasion, the first of its kind, in which 
he is represented as striking down the chief of the Mentiu, or 
bedouins. He is accompanied by a smaller figure of the * chief and 
general of the soldiers/ who carries a bow and arrows. There are 
three figures of the king, in two of which he wears the White 
Crown while in the third he has the Red Crown. Semerkhet 
was succeeded by the comparatively unimportant Ka, with the 
personal name Sen, which was later misread by the scribes as 
Kebh. But the lists are now very confused. The Abydos list next 
names Buzau, the Boethos whom Manetho placed at the head of 
his Ilnd Dynasty. Buzau, however, is probably a XlXth Dynasty 
misreading of Narmer or Narmerza, who has been transferred 
from his real position. The Sakkarah list rightly ignores him, but 
has placed, after Kebh, Biuneter ('Souls of God'), probably the 
Ubienthis of Manetho (the Bienekhes of Africanus), and Ba- 
nentiru ('Soul of the Gods'). Not only are these names so similar 
as almost to be doublets, but the latter is properly the third king 
of the Ilnd Dynasty, the Binothris of Manetho. For from a con- 
temporary statue in the Cairo Museum we know that Banentiru 
was preceded by two monarchs, Reneb (*Re is [his] Lord*) and 
his predecessor, Hotepsekhemui (' Pacifying the Two Powers/ 
viz. Horus and Set, or perhaps the South and North). Accord- 
ingly, Hotepsekhemui is the historical original of Buzau, the 
misread Narmer of the Abydos list. As for Reneb, the Abydos 
and Sakkarah lists give Kakau, which no doubt was his personal 
name; and its meaning (ka of kas) is extremely interesting in view 
of the meanings of Biuneter and Banentiru. 


The Ilnd Dynasty begins (c. 3350 B.C.) with the three kings 
Hotepsekhemui, Reneb Kakau and Neneter (i.e. ' possessing a 
god') Banentiru, Reneb is said (by Manetho) to have instituted 
the worship of the Apis-bull at Sakkarah, and his name, the first 
in Egyptian history compounded with that of the sun-god of 
Heliopolis, confirms this hint as to his northern sympathies or 
origin. His Horus-name Is Semitic or rather Mesopotamian in 


form, such names as * Enlil is my lord ' being previously unknown 
in "Egypt. The lists next give a king Uaznes, who is strangely 
represented in Manetho by 'Tlas"; but since Uaznes (* green- 
tongue') would in late times be pronounced c Udtlas ' (* green * and 
* tongue' being in Coptic ouot and las respectively), the name, 
probably written orXas (Otlas), was misunderstood as 6 TXas. 
He is followed in both lists by Senedi ('Terrible'): the Sethenes 
of Manetho (originally Senethes) being probably due to con- 
fusion with the name Seth5s, so well-known in Egyptian history. 
The monuments, however, give us two kings, who instead of 
Horus-names bore Set-names, with the animal of the god Set 
before them instead of the falcon of Horus. They were Perenmaat 
and Peribsen. The first, however, also bore a Horus-name, 
Sekhemib. This adoption of a Set-name might naturally be taken 
to mean an emphasis of connexion and sympathy with Lower 
Egypt, since in later times Set was par excellence the god of the 
Delta, being identified as Sutekh with a foreign northern deity 
of the Addu type (see p. 323). But in these early times Set was 
probably not regarded as specially northern in character, since he 
was the patron deity of the important district of Nubit or Unbit 
(' Golden') in Upper Egypt, the Ombos of later days. For this 
reason one of the titles of the king was written later as a hawk 
mounted on the symbol of * gold/ which means Horus triumphing 
over the evil Set. Peribsen was buried, or had his cenotaph built, 
with those of the earlier kings of Abydos, where Senedi is un- 
known, as indeed he is in any contemporary monument yet dis- 
covered. Of the remaining kings also contemporary records do not 
exist* They were probably monarchs of little energy and, as their 
names (compounded with those of Re and Sokari) attest, lived 
entirely in the north. 

Although this dynasty is called 'Thinite/ or Upper Egyptian, 
by Manetho, Reneb was evidently a northern er The Illrd 
Dynasty, on the other hand, which Manetho calls Memphite, 
certainly began (c. 3200 B.C.) with a southerner, Khasekhem or 
Khasekhemui, who expressly states on his monuments that he 
conquered the north. He is the 'Zazai* or 'Bebi* of the lists, 
which are misreadings of some kind of his name. He is repre- 
sented in Manetho by the 'Necherophes* with whom he begins, 
the Illrd Dynasty, and in whose time, he says, there was a great 
war with the Libyans. Khasekhemui's monuments alone would 
indicate him, not only as a great warrior but also as the founder 
of a new dynasty, and we know that he was the father of Zoser, 
who is Manetho's second king of the dynasty, Tosorthros, 


Khasekhemui, who carried the figure of Set above his divine 
name, as well as that of Horus, was probably identical with 
Khasekhem,, It would seem that he altered an original Horns-name 
Khasekhem ("Appearance of the Power') to Khasekhemui ('Ap- 
pearance of the Two Powers') after his conquest of the north. This 
conquest he commemorated by dedications of votive statues, vases, 
etc., at Hieraconpolis, like those of Narmer some centuries before. 
On one of the statues (in the Ashmolean Museum) Khasekhem 
claims that he took 47,209 northerners captive, and calls the year 
in which this took place "the year of fighting and smiting the 
North/ On some of the vases his personal name, Besh, is given. 
As Khasekhemui he seems to have consolidated his claim to the 
lordship of the north by marrying the princess Ne-maat-Hap 
('possessing the right of Apis '), whose name shows her to have 
been the rightful heiress of Memphis: she became the mother of 
Zoser. And as Khasekhemui he was, after a reign of nineteen 
years, buried in a great brick tomb at Abydos, close to those of the 
1st Dynasty, the tomb chamber of which was built of squared 
blocks of limestone, the first of its kind. According to the Palermo 
Stone the first temple built of hewn stone was erected in the 
thirteenth year of king Neneter, but this, wherever it was, has 
long disappeared, so that the stone tomb-chamber of Khasekhemui 
remains the oldest wholly stone-built building in the world, so far 
as we know. 

His son, Zoser ("the Holy'), with the Horus name Khetneter, 
reigned 29 years, and was one of the most famous of early Egyp- 
tian kings. He built the oldest pyramid, and his architect, 
physician, and, as we should say, * prime minister,* was the wise 
Imhotep, who in later days was deified as the patron of science, 
the 'Imouthes' whom the Greeks identified with their Asclepius. 
The pyramid which Imhotep no doubt designed is that now 
known as the 'Step-Pyramid' of Sakkarah, in the necropolis of 
Memphis, which still bears the name of the northern dead-god 
Sokari (Socharis). This was the greatest stone building that the 
Egyptians had yet achieved, and it marks a great advance on the 
tomb-chamber of Khasekhemui. Much of the architectural pro- 
gress of the period that immediately followed must be set down 
to the brain of Imhotep, who founded a school of architects whose 
work reaches its zenith under the next dynasty. Zoser's pyramid 
was decorated within with a doorway of inlaid faience, a notable 
advance in a smaller art. He possessed, also, a brick masta&a-tomb 
(see p. 280) at Beit Khallaf, north of Abydos; but in which of 
these he was buried we do not know, as either his ma$taba or his 


pyramid may have been a cenotaph. Here also Sa-nekht, his 
brother 9,nd successor,, had a similar brick tomb. Both these kings 
set up, memorial stelae in Sinai, and Zoser was probably the first 
conqueror of the territory south of the First Cataract, reaching as 
far as Maharraka, which was in Greek times known as the 
'Dodekaskhoinos' (Dodecaschoenus), and was always regarded 
as distinct from the rest of Nubia, conquered later. 

There was probably a period of confusion between the reign of 
Sa-nekht and those of Huni and Snefru, with which the dynasty 
closes. The legends or annals were evidently confused, for Manetho 
gives five kings with longish reigns before Sephouris, who is his 
equivalent for Snefru, whereas the Turin Papyrus gives only three 
with much shorter reigns, and the lists vary between three and 
four, with quite different names. Only one Is known from the 
monuments, Neferka (the Neferkere of one of the lists), who began 
a great pyramid at Zawiyet el- Aryan, north of Sakkarah, but only 
achieved its foundations. Neferka may be the Horus-name of 
Huni: it is represented by the Kerpheres of Manetho, who, 
however, misplaces him after Sephouris. 

Soris, who begins Manetho's IVth Dynasty, may be identified 
with the insignificant and probably short-lived monarch named 
Sharu, who does not appear in the lists and of whom only one 
monument is known. It certainly is more probable that the name 
Sephouris (? Snephourls) represents Snefru: so that we may pro- 
visionally regard him as the last of the Illrd Dynasty, and the 
ephemeral Sharu, who was ignored both in the genealogies of the 
time and in later annals, as the first of the IVth Dynasty. 

We now reach the age when the kings built themselves pyra- 
mids. The aristocrats of the kingdom began to construct great 
stone tombs which put the stone chamber of king Khasekhemui, 
built little more than a century before, into the shade; and on the 
walls of these tombs we read the genealogies of the nobles and 
their relations to the royal house, which have been of great use in 
elucidating the connexion of the successive kings with one 
another, and have enabled us to clothe the skeleton given by the 
lists with a certain amount of flesh. Thus, for instance, one of 
these genealogies tells us that the queen Meritiotis was 'great in 
the favour of king Snefru, great in the favour of king Khufu, and 
honoured under king Khafre'; that is to say, she was queen to 
both Snefru and Khufu, and reached an honoured old age as a 
dowager at the court of Khafre. Incidentally this shows us that the 
reign of 23 years assigned to Khufu by the Turin Papyrus is to 
be preferred to the 63 years assigned by Herodotus and Manetho. 


Egypt now stepped into the position of the most highly-civilized 
nation of the world., for the Babylonian culture, though a near 
competitor was not yet really the equal of Egyptian civilisation. 
Egypt's kings were mighty monarchs who succeeded each other in 
an august array. Their names are no longer to be deciphered 
painfully from primitive scrawls on pots or weird symbols on 
mace-heads and 'palettes/ but can be read in clear hieroglyphs on 
the walls of the tombs of the great men of their times, as dispensers 
of favour to their subjects and as benefactors to the gods. 

With Snefru the new age opens. We see Egypt as a firmly 
unified state, extending from the isthmus of Suez to Lower Nubia, 
with a kind of intermittent colony of miners and quarrymen in 
Sinai, and with its capital at the apex of the Delta, as at the present 
day. It is organized in a number of districts or 'nomes/ ancient 
divisions no doubt corresponding to the territories of predynastic 
tribes. There were about twenty in Upper Egypt, and, later on, 
the same number, more or less, existed in Lower Egypt, probably 
as the result of an artificial equalization devised in order to make 
the two lands alike in importance. In Snefru's time they were 
ruled by officials who still bore the title of Hik or 'chief,' but were 
no longer necessarily local chieftains, but royal nominees* Under 
the IVth Dynasty, and later, we find the title changed to that of 
tep-kher-neset) ' First under the King,' and to it is added that of 
sab, or judge. This governor is simply a royal sheriff. The cen- 
tralization is complete : he is directly under the king, independent 
of his fellows, and reports to the crown alone. Under him are a 
number of miscellaneous officials of all kinds. At the centre of 
administration, the royal court, the king rules, adored as a living 
god, in the midst of a numerous following of officials and nobles. 
Of these many belonged to old families with landed possessions, 
others were the descendants of royal younger sons, while others 
were a nobility of favour, owing its existence entirely to the king 
who Had ennobled some court fool or some wise man because his 
talents either amused or were useful to him. Thus a man of the 
humblest origin might, if he pleased or benefited the king, be 
raised to the highest place in the state. And we know that this 
often occurred. As a mark of his favour the king would grant 
gifts of land for the erection of tombs; he sometimes paid for the 
tombs themselves, or merely gave the burial stele. Or he would 
give to the living so many sta of land, often in quite different 
parts of the country, and would confer different governorships on 
the same man. Thus we find that Imten, an official of the Delta, 
who died in the reign of Snefru, was a veritable pluralist. Such 


pluralists and placemen multiplied enormously under succeeding 
kings, aaid we even find the creation of 'Real Royal Councillors 9 
(wirkliche Geheimrathe\ who seem to have been as multitudinous 
as their Teutonic successors: no king could possibly have con- 
sulted them all. These were, in fact, largely mere honorific titles 
and possibly did not always carry revenues with them. Marriage 
alliances with the family of the Pharaoh regularly took place, and 
a lucky noble might, by the right of his wife, even aspire to the 
succession to the throne. 

The matriarchal system was the rule in Egypt as regards suc- 
cession to property, though the father could bequeath specified 
goods to his son. A change of dynasty usually meant, as in the 
case of Khasekhemui, legitimation of the new ruler by marriage 
with a princess of an older house, so that the blood of Re was 
preserved in the royal family, even if a fiction was necessary to 
ensure this. Respect for forms of law and the * rights of property 7 
was already a fixed principle of Egyptian custom. * Right* or 
'Law* was deified as the goddess Maat, somewhat in Roman 
fashion. We possess copies, inscribed on the walls of their tombs, 
of the written legal testaments of nobles of this time, such as the 
will of the prince Nekaure, son of king Khafre, preserved in his 
tomb and dated in the twenty-fourth year of the king's reign. The 
formal gifts of lands for the living and tomb ground for the dead 
are chronicled in other tombs, beginning with that of Imten. 
The army of scribes saw to it that the written documents should 
rule, and the formal edict of the Head of the State as drawn up 
in proper form in the chancelleries was law. 

The nobles were priests as well as officials: the priestly caste 
has not yet begun to develop. But the liturgy of the gods is 
beginning to take a stately form worthy of a high civilization. 
Temples are mentioned in the annals of the Palermo Stone as 
already founded under the Ilnd Dynasty, but they cannot have 
been of stone. Temples of stone now begin to arise. We have 
such buildings in the 'Temple of the Sphinx' at Gizeh and the 
* Osireion ' at Abydos, which must be considered to date from the 
Illrd or IVth Dynasty. They are without inscriptions, and are built 
simply of mighty stone blocks. The column, the colonnade, and the 
sculptured wall do not appear till the end of the IVth Dynasty. 

Though the gods began to be housed in buildings of stone, the 
king, for all his state, did not live in a stone palace himself It is 
true that we are told as a remarkable fact that Zoser built himself 
'a house of stone'; but this, no doubt, refers to his pyramid, the 
first of its kind. The dwellings of the living were, in Egypt, built 


of brick or plain mud, and the royal palace was never an exception 
to the rule. Stone dwellings belonged only to the gods arrd to the 
dead, themselves reputed gods. The king was housed in ^ brick 
and mud palace, with a double gate, typifying the double king- 
dom, made gay with painted stripes and panelling, and with 
streamers flying from great cedar poles that stood before it, 
brought from the Lebanon by sea. It was no doubt surrounded 
by the similar but smaller palaces of the nobles, much as the 
palace of the Japanese Mikado, in the days when the Son of 
Heaven was still powerful, stood at Kyoto, surrounded by the 
houses of his court nobles or Kuge, The Egyptian Kuge lived 
similarly around their divine lord, and, further, took their places 
around him also in death. Wherever the Pharaoh built his tomb, 
his nobler subjects also built theirs, so that the royal pyramid was 
surrounded by a town of mastafra-tombS) so-called from their form 
like that of a bench (Arabic mastaba), in which the great men of 
the reign were laid to rest when their turn came to die, just as the 
royal house had been surrounded by them in life, 

But whereas the royal tomb, like the temple, as yet bore no 
inscription (the sole exception being the door of king Zoser, 
already mentioned), the tombs of the nobles now began to be 
covered with a profusion of representations in coloured low-relief, 
cut in the soft local limestone of the Memphian district, depicting 
the daily life of the lord and of his family and retainers. These 
reliefs have been described so often that there is no need to take 
tip space in recapitulating their characteristics; suffice it that they 
give a complete view of the ordinary life of the time, the life of the 
common people as well as of the great, and it is this fact that gives 
them their enormous value and interest. We now see, for the first 
time in history, how the peasants of a great lord's domains lived 
and what they looked like, and we realize how such busy workers, 
as they appear to be, could raise the pyramids. Such representations 
do not greet us in the chambers of the royal pyramid. They are 
the fit decorations of the outer chapel, not of the actual tomb- 
chamber. And the pyramid was but the mighty stone barrow 
built over the tomb-chamber itself; the chapel, which in the case 
of the nobles was still combined with thq tomb (as it was in the 
case of the king also at least till the time of Khasekhemui), was 
apart from and in front of it. The nobleman had his peasants and 
his flocks and herds represented on the walls of his tomb because 
he thought that by this means some kind of sympathetic magic 
would be brought into play that would ensure his continuing to 
lead- much the same kind of life in the next world as he had in 


this : he was thinking of himself and his mortal earthly pleasures 
and duties, not of interesting posterity. The king was a god even 
in lifqj and absolutely one in death: he flew to rejoin the gods, and 
there was no need in his case of such representations. Yet it was 
not long before it was deemed both fitting to represent on the 
walls of the king's tomb-chapel important events of his reign, and 
necessary to secure the king's safety by powerful written spells 
that were cut on the walls of the tomb-chamber in the pyramid. 
These 'pyramid-texts' first appear under the Vth Dynasty, when 
religious practices appear to have undergone a good deal of 
modification. Seep. 330, 

Snefru appears to have possessed two pyramids, not far away 
from one another, one at Dahshur, south of Sakkarah, and another 
at Medum, still further south* Both still stand, and the peculiar 
truncated block of the Pyramid of Medum is one of the most 
conspicuous objects to the west of the railway between Gizeh and 
Wasta, south of Cairo, "Whether these two were built with the idea 
of ensuring the safety of the king's funerary treasures none but 
a few trusted ones knowing in which he was actually interred 
we cannot telL 

His great successors of the I Vth Dynasty (c. 31002950 B.C.), 
Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, went north of Sakkarah, to the 
desert edge opposite the modern Gizeh. There they erected the 
most magnificent pyramids of all, the mighty three that mark the 
culminating point of this type of royal grave, and have lasted as 
one of the Seven Wonders of the World from that day to this, and 
will last for thousands of years yet unborn. For the Third Pyramid 
of Gizeh, though so small by the side of its two sisters, is in its 
proportion so perfect that its lesser size Is not obtrusive, and it 
seems by no means unworthy to rank as a wonder alongside them. 
The great Pyramid is 450 feet high and is built throughout of 
blocks of limestone,, each weighing on the average 2-J tons; and 
of these it is calculated there are 2,300,000. The whole therefore 
weighs 5,750,000 tons. And yet its perfect building compels our 
admiration; its alignment is mathematically correct and often one 
cannot insert a pen-knife between the joints of the stone. Its 
builder was Khnum-Khufu or, shortly, Khufu, the Cheops of Hero-" 
dotus, who had a very good idea of these IVth Dynasty monarchs. 
The memory of Cheops had impressed itself daily on the minds 
of the Egyptians during three millennia, so that their tradition of 
him was continuous and accurate, and could be recounted to the 
Greek tourist even by a dragoman without serious error, And the 
pyramid was the one event of Khufu's life. It seems to have been 


an obsession with Mm. Snefru had probably gone to Sinai; at all 
events he set up his monument there in the Wadi Maghaiuh : and 
as he was venerated in later times as a tutelary deity of the tur- 
quoise-mines, he would seem to have been the first to occupy the 
peninsula permanently as a continuous Egyptian possession. 
Khufu set up his monument there also in succession to Snefru, 
but we hear nothing of any warlike events in his reign, and we 
may wonder whether he really ever went there himself to smite 
the Mentiu, as he is depicted. A great portion of the energy 
of state and people must have been expended in the building of 
his pyramid alone, which probably continued during his entire 
reign of over twenty years. Khafre, a son of Khufu, built a smaller 
pyramid, though he apparently reigned twice as long (56 years?). 
Manetho calls him Souphis, like his father (in his day 'Khufu' 
would be pronounced 'Shufu'); and, like Herodotus, gives him 
a reign as long as Khufu's, no doubt by traditional confusion. 
Khafre did not succeed Khufu directly, another king, Rededef, 
who was, perhaps, an elder son, intervenes with a short reign of 
eight years. We know from contemporary monuments that 
Rededef came between Khufu and Khafre, though in Manetho 
Ratoises, as he is called, is placed after 'Souphis 1 1/ 

The statement of Herodotus that Khafre reigned 56 years (V. 
30673011 B.C.?) is confirmed by the number of monuments of 
his reign, and is not contradicted by the contemporary tomb- 

fsnealogies. This long reign was one of the most distinguished in 
gyptian history. Though we know little of its actual events, its 
special distinction is the fact that in the days of Khafre Egyptian 
art reached its first culminating point. We now finally leave the 
archaic age behind us, and the Egyptian sculptors, at all events, 
take their place among the masters of all time. A more detailed 
account of this first maturity of Egyptian sculpture is given in 
Chapter xvi. We need here only refer to the wonderful seated 
portrait statues of the king, cut in hard diorite, in the Cairo 
Museum. Probably the development of technique and power over 
materials that these statues show, and the realization of true 
portraiture that they indicate, occurred towards the end of the 
reign, as we see it in full vigour in the time of Menkaure. The 
portrait-statue of him standing with his queen, and the figures of 
him with the goddesses of the nomes, are amazingly vigorous and 
true, and may be counted among the chief treasures of ancient art. 
The reign of Menkaure (the Mycerinus of Herodotus and 
Mencheres of Manetho) lasted perhaps for over twenty years (c. 
301 1 2988 B.C. ?). It cannot have been much longer, for a certain 


prince named Sekhemkere, as we learn from his tomb-inscription, 
was bof n in the reign of Khafre, lived through the reigns of the 
threejFollowing kings, and died in that of Sahure, the second king 
of the Vth Dynasty. Menkaure's pyramid we already know; also 
the splendid art of the portrait statues of himself which were 
found in its temple. According to Herodotus he was a very pious 
person; and from his monuments we can well imagine this. His 

Eortraits are those of a noble but perhaps rather simple man; he 
icks the rugged strength of the great statues of Khafre and of an 
ivory statuette of Khuf u found at Abydos, the only portrait of the - 
builder of the Great Pyramid that we possess. According to a very 
old Egyptian tradition he sent his son, Hordedef, to inspect the 
sanctuaries of all Egypt, and the prince returned with the texts 
of the 3oth and 64th chapters of the Book of the Dead, which he 
discovered at Ekhmunu (Hermopolis Magna). The latter chapter 
is said in another place to have been * discovered * before, in the 
reign of Semti. Hordedef is commemorated elsewhere as a great 
wise man, and a letter of the time of the Ramessids speaks of the 
difficulty of comprehending his 'sayings/ 

Under Shepseskaf (c. 29 8 82 9 70 ?), a king who fell far short 
of the distinction of his predecessors and is hardly known to fame, 
there came to the fore a great noble named Ptahshepses, who was 
born in the reign of Menkaure, and educated among the royal 
chambers in the harem. He 'was more honoured before the king 
than any other child/ so he tells us in his funerary inscription, 
now in the British Museum. Shepseskaf gave him to wife his 
eldest daughter, Khamaat (*the goddess of Right appears'), *for 
his majesty desired that he should be with him more than with 
anyone/ Ptahshepses however did not succeed to the throne at 
the death of Shepseskaf; and as we know that he died in the reign 
of Neuserre, the sixth king of the next dynasty, and seems to have 
filled high office in the reigns of all Neuserre's predecessors, it is 
evident that he prudently effaced himself at the change of dynasty 
that followed either at or shortly after Shepseskaf s death. That 
Userkaf, the first king of the new dynasty, belonged to a family 
of Heliopolitan, not Memphite, origin, we shall shortly see, and 
it is improbable that the substitution was effected without trouble. 
Both the Turin Papyrus and Manetho agree that another king 
came between Shepseskaf (Seberkheres) and Userkaf (Ouser- 
kheres); and it is probable that he really existed, but was deposed 
or killed by Userkaf, and all mention of him suppressed. 
Such a damnatio memoriae seems to have been not infrequent in 
Egyptian annals, though it was rarely so complete as in the case 


of c Thamphthis/ as Manetho calls him. So the obedient Ptahshepses 
does not mention him, but, like the Vicar of Bray, 'whatsoever 
king might reign/ still he would hold his offices. 


The distinguishing mark of the Vth Dynasty (c. 29652825 
B.C. ?) is its special devotion to the sun-god of On or Heliopolis, 
Re c . We have first seen this god regarded as the especial patron of 
a king under the Ilnd Dynasty, when Reneb (* Re is his lord') bore 
his name. The Re-worshipping tendencies that were then coming 
to the front in the north were probably set back by the southern 
reaction under Khasekhemui, and we find that Zoser (Horus 
Khetneter) bears simple names of the old southern type. Khufu 
is protected by the god Khnum. With Khafre the sun-god again 
comes into the royal titulary, and under Menkaure the well-known 
title, 'Son of the Sun/ is first used. The name of Shepseskaf 
(* noble is his double 7 ) is merely a shortened form of Shepseskere 
(* noble is the double of Re'); the ka being the spiritual 'Double' 
of the living man, who was born with him and left him at 
death, a conception which probably arose simply from the fact 
of the shadow. In later times the shadow (khaibif) was also itself 
regarded as one of the spiritual parts of a man, distinct from the 
ka\ see below, p. 334 sq. 'Seberkheres' then is a form that shows 
Manetho's knowledge, as also does * Ouserkheres ' for Userkaf, 
for the full form of the name of the founder of the new dynasty 
was 'Userkere* (* Strong4s-his [Re's]-double'). 

The Heliopolitan influence steadily gained ground until after 
Shepseskaf's death, when the Heliopolitan noble Userkaf (who 
was high-priest of Re), after suppressing the legitimate successor, 
Thamphthis, ascended the throne. He was succeeded seven 
years later by his brother Sahure, and he by a third brother, 
Neferirikere, whose personal name was Kakau, both of whom had 
comparatively short reigns of ten or twelve years each. We know 
that they were brothers from a very interesting ancient legend, 
preserved in the Westcar Papyrus (date about a thousand years 
later, see p, 331 sq\ which tells us how a soothsayer named Dedi 
prophesied to Khufu that his son should reign and his son's son, 
but that then the throne would pass to the eldest of three brothers, 
Useref, Sahre and Kakau, who in the fulness of time were to be 
begotten by Re in the body of Rud-dedet, wife of Reuser, priest 
of Re, and that Useref would be high-priest of Re. The historical 
origin of the legend is evident, and we have confirmation of the 


fraternal relation of the three children of Re In their quick suc- 
cession f three such short reigns could not belong to three genera- 
tions^This is one of the most interesting of the few old Egyptian 
historical tales that are extant, and its agreement with fact is remark- 
able. It brings out completely the peculiar devotion of Userkaf and 
his brothers to the god Re, and gives a legendary explanation of 
the fact that with this dynasty the filial relation of the Pharaoh to 
the sun-god, already declared, was finally accepted* Henceforward 
he always bears the title of 'Son of the Sun/ and with the third 
brother the practice of the king bearing three official names, 
which under the Vlth Dynasty became general, first appeared. 

Under the first two dynasties we have known the king usually by 
his Horus-name (p. 265 sg.*). His own personal name is not always 
known to us, but when it appears, it is beneath symbols which 
denote him as king of Upper and Lower Egypt (insibya) or Lord 
of South and North. Under the Illrd Dynasty Khasekhem places 
his personal name, Besh, within what looks like a signet ring with 
a broad bezel, but is in reality a representation of a cylinder-seal 
rolling over a flat piece of clay or wax. This sign for a seal is 
already found under Semti of the 1st Dynasty. It was held in the 
claw of the vulture Nekhebet, the protecting goddess of the south, 
and thus appears as a ring bearing his personal name in the in- 
scription of Khasekhem. Soon this circular ring altered its shape, 
lengthening in order to accommodate conveniently the signs of the 
royal name; and under Snefru we find it has assumed its final shape 
as the familiar 'cartouche' within which at first only the personal 
name was contained. The Horus-name was still borne till the days 
of the Romans, on the serekh (see p. 265). But after Zoser's time 
it is no longer necessary to give this name except in formal lists. 
Of the kings of the I Vth Dynasty and the first two of the Vth we 
give therefore the personal names only^to which was prefixed > after 
Menkaure's time, the title Sa-Re, 'Son of the Sun-god/ as well 
as that of insibya* Kakau was the first to use an additional name 
(Neferirikere) compounded with the name of the sun-god. His 
successors did not always do so at first. When two names were 
used, both are usually, but not invariably, enclosed in cartouches,, 
or are combined in one cartouche. Under the Xllth Dynasty the 
regular use of two names in separate cartouches and preceded by 
separate titles is fixed : the additional name assumed at accession 
comes first preceded by the Insibya-titl^ and the personal name 
follows preceded by the titles of 'Son of the Sun/ 'Lord of the 
Two Lands, ' etc, ' 

Neferirikere's brother Userkaf founded the dynasty. The sixth 


ruler, *Neuserre-An, Is the next king of note, the two intervening 
monarchs, Shepseskere and Khaneferre, being short-lived and 
unimportant. These three were also probably brethren, sf>ns of 
Neferirikere. Neuserre reigned thirty years, and celebrated the 
Sed festival in his thirtieth, according to custom. Of the original 
three, Sahure was a warrior, and went to Sinai, where he set 
up his memorial stele; but otherwise he and his successor 
Neferirikere, and the longer-lived Neuserre, are chiefly known as 
the builders of the pyramids of Abusir, the excavation of which 
has shed much additional light upon the art and religion of the 
time. Sculptured reliefs now for the first time appear upon the 
walls of the pyramid-temples, and great red granite columns for 
the first time uphold its roof, fashioned in the form of papyrus- 
plants and lilies, opened and closed: forms which were preserved 
till the end In Egyptian architecture. And we now see the gods in 
the forms which they continued to retain : religious art has now 
reached its final epoch of development, henceforward the deities are 
always represented as they were depicted under the Vth Dynasty 
(see p. 574). One thing we do not see again: the special sanc- 
tuaries of Re that accompany these pyramids, with their truncated 
obelisks on mounds, their huge circular alabaster altars and basins, 
with runlets to catch the blood of the sacrifices, and the great 
boats, reproductions of the bark in which the sun crossed the 
heavens by day and returned to his starting-place through the 
underworld of the dead by night* In the inscriptions of the time 
the nobles specially mention themselves as priests of this sun-stone 
on its mound. But after the end of the Vlth Dynasty and the 
retransference of power to the south it disappears. 

The architecture and decoration of these temples are splendid, 
but the pyramids themselves seemed to have suffered from com- 

Srative lack of attention, as, instead of being built of solid granite 
Dcks throughout, like their predecessors, they have a core of 
rubble. There is a falling-ofF here, and in the art of the time we may 
perhaps see an alteration that speaks of the beginning of degen- 
eracy. In sculpture the rugged strength of the IVth Dynasty is 
much modified, and delicacy of treatment begins to take its place. 
The portrait-figures of the nobles, found in their tombs, are still 
wonderful, so far as the heads are concerned, though still not so 
good as those of the IVth Dynasty. There is something wanting: 
power is lacking; the upward impulse is already beginning to 
ebb. And we can see a proof of the arrest of inspiration in the fact 
that in these statues of the Vth Dynasty, while the heads are still 
great portraits, there is no development in the treatment of the 



rest of the body* Had the progress of the IVth Dynasty been 
continued, the sculptors would surely have turned their attention 
next to the trunk and limbs. But these are less shapely than In 
the preceding generation. A convention Is being established, and 
the characteristic Egyptian treatment of the body stereotyped at 
the stage of achievement reached by the sculptors of the IVth 
Dynasty* The evidently greater religiosity of the time, under the 
influence of the Heliopolitan cult, was probably the cause of the 
establishment of the artistic conventions. It had been impious 
to depict the gods in other guise than that which they had assumed 
under the earliest dynasties and the religious convention was now 
extended to the representation of ordinary mortals. The assump- 
tion of the throne by the high-priest of Heliopolis, secular noble 
though he was also, would mean a great accretion of prestige to 
the priestly office as such. 

The Uer-maa (* Great Seer *), as the high-priest at On was called, 
was a noble whose sacerdotal functions were so Important as to 
make him quite as much priest as layman. The two high-priests 
of Ptah in Memphis, both of whom bore the title of Uer-khorp- 
hemtiu ('Great Chief of Artificers'), were now equally important 
from the religious point of view. And from this time we may date 
the beginnings of the separation of the priest from the rest of the 
community, though it must be remembered that this separation 
never went so far as has been inferred from the statements of 
Herodotus: even in his time they did not form a ' caste* apart, In 
the Indian sense, though they were an enormously influential 
"class.* Under the Vth Dynasty the sacerdotal subordinates of 
the high-priest were also laymen who at stated times officiated as 
the * servants of the god' (hemu-neter)^ and alongside him stood the 
* Treasurer of the god,' who no doubt conducted the temple- 
business. Priesthoods of the royal pyramid-temples were conferred 
on deserving subjects, and each noble himself nominated hemu-ka y 
servants of his 'double,* to maintain the funerary offerings at his 
tomb; and for the maintenance of these chantry priests regular 
legal grants of revenues and land were made in the wills of the 
deceased. These foundations corresponded exactly to our mediaeval 
'chantries'; like them they were intended to last for ever, and like 
them fell into desuetude when owing to civil turmoil or other 
causes the revenues which supported them came to an end* It 
is to these tomb-chaplains that the inception of the later pro- 
fessional priestly caste may perhaps be traced. 

Henceforward we gradually see the tomb assuming more and 
more importance in the Egyptian mind, and under the next 


dynasty the practice of mummification., generally very rare, 
becomes more usual, but is not yet general (see pp. 32*1^336). 
The preservation of the body itself is now considered desirable, 
both as the residence of the * double/ which survived invisible 
in the tomb, and in order to enable the dead man to live again 
in the underworld as he had on earth the reason, as we have 
seen, for the elaborate reliefs of the tomb-chamber. In the case of 
ordinary persons this aim was not attained until much later. On one 
view, this solicitude for the ka explains the presence of the portrait- 
statues in the tombs. A king, like Khafre, had many statues which 
were set up in his temple, for offerings to be made to them as to a 
god. The private person of high degree had his statues placed in 
the serdab or walled-up hollowed space behind the stele in the 
tomb. They were not intended as memorials for a posterity that 
it was hoped would never see them, but, probably, as simulacra 
of the deceased in which the ka could live. To ensure this, in 
some tombs reserve stone heads, life-size, were provided as an 
alternative to full-size statues. See, for another view, p. 337. 

Under the Vth Dynasty still more than under the IVth the 
tomb is the chief source for our knowledge of the time, and 
the reliefs of the vast tomb at Sakkarah of the royal secretary 
Ti, chief of the royal works, and priest of Neuserre's pyramid, 
are among the best known of the ancient representations of the 
life of that day. 

In the reign of Dedkere Isesi (V. 28832855 B.C. ?), the second 
successor of Neuserre, lived a famous wise man named Ptahhotep, 
who wrote a number of proverbial sayings of which we possess 
a papyrus copy of the Middle Kingdom, the oldest monument 
of Egyptian literature extant. We also possess fragments and 
excerpts of much later date; for the * admonitions of Ptahhotep* 
were used as a school book in later days, and the Egyptian school 
boy of the XVII Ith and XlXth Dynasties conned the words of 
the ancient sage and wrote his school copies of them on the frag- 
ments of white limestone which corresponded to the * slate' of not 
many years ago. Ptahhotep, an old man, first describes the miseries 
of old age, *the worst of all misfortunes that can befall a man,' and 
then, on the principle that *it is no use being old unless you are 
clever/ repeats, at the order of the king and for the instruction of 
the crown prince, the proverbial philosophy which he had thought 
out during the course of his long life. It is of a naively worldly 
kind, inculcating proper reverence to superiors lest worse befall, 
and decent behaviour to inferiors lest the anger of the gods 
be provoked; instruction in the proper way to behave at table 


follows, and a man is bidden not to look too scrutinizingly at his 
food,, at*all events if it is the gift of a greater than himself. Hints 
as to th.e proper conduct of servants in great families are provided, 
and the main points of etiquette pointed out. The proper way to 
manage a wife is fully explained : * Give her food in abundance and 
raiment for her back, anoint her with unguents/ Wife-beating is 
reproved as impolitic: 'Be not harsh in thy house, for she will be 
more easily moved by persuasion than by violence/ The nou^oeau 
riche is warned that it is not tactful for him to be too high and 
mighty, and the wisest man is held to be he who keeps his mouth 
shut. This oldest proverbial philosophy of the world is naturally 
of extraordinary interest as a document for the history of mental 
development, and the Martin Tupper of 3000 B.C. is a very human 
old figure with his aches and pains and his wise saws (see also 
below, p. 348 sq.). 

Another worthy of Isesi's reign was the Chancellor Baurded, 
who travelled to the land of Puenet, and brought back thence a 
dwarf of the kind called deneg^ and was much honoured by the 
king therefore. These dwarfs were regarded as great curiosities 
and were taught to take part in the festival dances before the gods 
with the princesses and waiting-women of the harem, who took 
the role of priestesses. We hear of Baurded from the inscription 
of Herkhuf, who under the VI th Dynasty also went to Puenet and 
brought back a similar dwarf, He went by land, up the Nile and 
through the Sudan, and so no doubt did Baurded. Puenet (often 
called Punt), was probably the modern Somaliland, and a sea 
expedition thither was by no means out of the power of the princes 
of the Vth Dynasty. Great ships for the Nile were built as early as 
the time of the 1st and Ilnd Dynasties, and at the end of the Illrd 
we know that they -went to sea in the Mediterranean. Snefru sent 
40 ships to Phoenicia, which came back laden with great balks of 
cedar from the Lebanon. And under the Vth Dynasty Sahure 
actually represents on the walls of his tomb-temple the sailing of 
a naval expedition on the waters of the Red Sea, probably to 
Sinai. A large ship is shown returning to Egypt with Semitic 
prisoners on board. But as the overland way to Puenet was no 
doubt open, as it was in the time of Herkhuf about a century 
later, Baurded probably went by land. 

Neuserre, Menkauhor and Isesi are all commemorated on the 
rocks of Sinai, and we have an interesting record of movement 
further afield in a representation in the tomb of a Vth Dynasty 
noble named Inti at Deshasheh in Upper Egypt. This shows an 
attack by Egyptian warriors, no doubt commanded by Inti, on 

C.A.H.I 19 


the stockaded or walled settlements of northern foreigners, who 
are evidently Semites. Their villages, named 'the enemy town 
Nedya, the enemy town 'En-Ka, . ./ (i.e. the Spring [W#] of 
Ka. . . 5 ?) 3 must be in southern Palestine. There is a vivid repre- 
sentation of the siege of one town : the men are breaking their 
bows in despair, some of the women are succouring the wounded, 
while others with the old men and children stand before the 
sheikh, who is seated on his stool, tearing his long hair with grief, 
and beseech him to surrender. Men are listening with anxiety on 
their side of the wall, just where the Egyptians are making a breach 
with poles under the direction of a very composed Egyptian officer 
who leans nonchalantly on a staff looking on. Other Egyptians 
are raising a scaling-ladder against the outer face of the wall, 
Outside a general massacre of other inhabitants is proceeding, a 
train of captives is being led away bound with a rope, and one, a 
girl, is flung over the shoulder of her captor. This was no doubt 
a mere raid for slaves, perhaps in revenge for some marauding 
attack on the Delta. We find it repeated on a larger scale in the 
expedition of Uni under the next dynasty (p. 293), 

The successor of Isesi was Unis. Both kings are said to have 
had long reigns, of 28 and 30 years respectively. Unis (c. 2855 
2825 B.C.?) is remarkable only as the builder of the pyramid for 
himself at Sakkarah, which is the first to contain written spells 
and prayers for the dead king's safety in the next world (p. 330), 
They contain matter of very great anthropological interest. The 
gods are represented as being terrified at the arrival of Unis among 
them: 'the heavens open, and the stars tremble when this Unis 
comes forth as a god*; for Unis is to obtain strength by devouring 
the gods themselves ('the old gods shall be thy meat in the even- 
ing, the young gods shall be thy meat in the morning'), and he is to 
boil their bones to prepare his food. This is unadulterated African 
savagery, and is either the product of barbarous necromancers, or, 
more probably, a survival of very early days indeed. The reemer- 
gence of such types of primitive savagery was not rare in Egypt even 
in much later times than these. The same texts were copied in the 
pyramids of the kings of the Vlth Dynasty, which now followed. 

The Vlth Dynasty (c* 28252630?) was founded by a certain 
Tetij whose relationship to Unis we do not know. But we see no 
sign of forcible revolution, as at the beginning of the Vth Dynasty. 
He was followed by an ephemeral Ati, who bore the second name 
Userkere. These two (merged by Manetho into Othoes) were 
merely the prelude to the energetic king Pepi I Merire, who, 
though he did not reign as long as his centenarian son, Pepi II, 


was otherwise a far more notable monarch, and is the central 
figure of the new dynasty. Manetho calls him Phios, and credits 
him a reign of 53 years (c. 27952742 B.C.?), We have 
contemporary monumental evidence for his forty-ninth and fiftieth 
year, so that the Turin Papyrus, which gives him only twenty 
years, is here known to be in error, a fact that should warn us 
against accepting the evidence of the papyrus without critical 
examination in any doubtful case, 

Pepi must have been a very young man at his accession, and we 
see him represented as he was in his vigorous youth, in the 
magnificent bronze (?) statue of himself, accompanied by a smaller 
figure of his son, that was found at Hieraconpolis and is now in 
the Cairo Museum. It was found broken in several pieces, and 
has been skilfully put together. Luckily the metal had not become 
so severely oxidized as to make it impossible to do this. The 
figure of the king was originally six feet, and that of his son about 
three feet high. The king's head originally bore a crown, possibly 
of precious metal, which was no doubt stolen when the figures 
were broken up in ancient days. He wore otherwise only the 
waistcloth, which also has disappeared. He stands with left leg 
advanced, and a raised left hand, which originally held a staff or 
sceptre. The son is represented as a naked small boy: his face is 
extremely well preserved. Both heads were apparently cast, the 
rest of the bodies being put together of hammered plates of what 
is said to be bronze, over a wooden core. The heads have inlaid 
eyes of obsidian and white limestone. A similar techniqiie is known 
from early Babylonia, where, in 1 9 1 9 at Tell el- Obeid, near Tell 
Mukayyar ( c Ur of the Chaldees *), the present writer, when ex- 
cavating for the British Museum, discovered copper figures of 
lions and bulls made in the same way with bodies hammered over 
wood and heads cast (p. 585)* In their case, however, the heads had 
been filled with bitumen to strengthen them, and their eyes are of 
red jasper, white shell, and blue schist, inlaid and fastened to the 
bitumen core by copper wire. These Sumerian copper figures 
are some centuries older than the Pepi group 1 . Pepi's portrait is 
1 That the Sumerian figures are copper is proved by the analysis of Dr 
Alexander Scott, F.R.S. That the Egyptian figures are of bronze seems 
doubtful (p. 585); a fresh analysis is very desirable. ^A contemporary seal- 
cylinder analysed by Berthelot {La CMmie au Moym dge^ i, p. 365) is of pure 
copper, and is proof of the general use of the unalloyed metal as late as the 
Vlth Dynasty. A stray exception is the famous IVth Dynasty bronze rod 
from Medum, found by Petrie. The first real use of bronze begins about the 
Xllth Dynasty, the period of the Hyksos, whose victory may hare been 
due to their bronze weapons (see below, pp. 311 sqq., 319, 572). 



that of a good-looking and intelligent young man, with broad 
forehead, prominent nose, full mouth and chin. That* he^ was 
energetic we know from the number of temples that he^ either 
builder rebuilt throughout Egypt. Most of the chief sanctuaries 
of Egypt had owed something to his building activity, though his 
actual work largely disappeared in the course of later rebuilding. 
In his day it first became the royal custom to mark the king's reign 
by great temple works that should at once evince his piety, glorify 
his reign, and perpetuate his name for all time. More than any 
king before him Pepi used the splendid red granite of Aswan for 
this work, and in his time the famous quarries began to produce 
the increased output that continued with intermissions to the 
days of the Romans. 

We have several records at this time of the expeditions which 
were sent to procure this stone. One of the best known is that of 
the high official Uni, who was one of the most prominent men of 
Pepi's day, and was a very old man when he was sent to bring 
granite from the cataract in the reign of his successor. He was a 
contemporary of Pepi, having been born in the reign of Teti, and 
was probably brought up with Pepi at the court. At his accession 
Pepi made him rekh-neset (*king-knower') or * Companion, ? and 
superintendent of the royal domain, specially charging him with 
the oversight of the royal harem, in which he had to deal with 
various confidential matters, which he settled, with the vizier as 
his sole assessor. In a matter of the highest secrecy, however, 
which concerned the honour of the queen, Ixntis, against whom 

* legal proceedings were Instituted in camera within the harem,' 
he acted as sole judge: *no chief judge and vizier at all, no prince 
was there, but only I alone.* He drew up the frocks-herbal in 
writing, with a subordinate judge to advise him on legal points. 

* Never before had one of my standing heard the secret of the 
king's harem/ 

Then Pepi gave his faithful servant command of an expedition 
against the Herm-sha^ "those who are upon the sands/ probably 
the inhabitants of the half-cultivated sand-dune country of the 
Mediterranean coast about the modern el-Arish and Rafah or else on 
the Gulf of Suez. He assembled an army * of many ten thousands/ 
from all parts of the Egyptian realm, from the negroes of the 
Sudan, and the Libyans west of the Delta, as well as from the 
Egyptians from Aswan to Atfih. Uni in his inscription celebrates 
the victory of his army in seven couplets (see p, 343)* The stock- 
ades of the enemy are besieged, fruit trees destroyed, the dwellings 
put to the flames and the warriors slain in myriads. We have seen 


After TJbtales come Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. The 
Pythagoreans, says Aristotle, devoted themselves to mathematics 
and were the first to advance that science as a study pursued 
for its own sake 1 . They made geometry a part of liberal educa- 
tion: their quadrivium comprised arithmetic, geometry, sphaeric 
(astronomy) and music. By arithmetic in this classification is 
meant, not the arithmetic of daily life, but the theory of numbers 
in themselves. We have seen (vol. iv, p. 547) that Pythagoras 
discovered that the musical intervals correspond to certain arith- 
metical ratios between lengths of string at the same tension, 2, : i 
giving the octave, 3 : 2, the fifth and 4 : 3 the fourth. These ratios 
are the same as those of 12 to 6, 8, 9 respectively, and 6:8 = 
9:12, so that this proportion shows all three intervals. The 
principle of proportion so established became a uniform principle 
for all science and notably for medicine. 

An easy transition from arithmetic to geometry, from numbers 
to geometrical magnitudes, was through figured numbers, tri- 
angles, squares, etc. marked out by dots. This revealed a law of 
formation. Three dots were placed in contiguity to one dot so as to 
form a square, five dots round two sides of that square gave the 
next square, and so on, showing that the sum of any number of 
terms of the series of odd numbers beginning with r is a square 
number; to add any odd number to the sura of all the preceding 
odd numbers (including i) made one square into the next larger 
square; hence the odd numbers were called gnomons. If the 
gnomon (odd number) so added is itself a square, we have two 
square numbers the sum of which is also a square; and from this is 
easily deduced the general formula (attributed to Pythagoras) for 
finding three numbers the squares of two of which are together 
equal to the square of the third. Any triangle with its sides in the 
ratio of three such numbers is right-angled; hence the rule is 
connected with the theorem of the square on the hypotenuse, the 
proof of which Greek tradition uniformly ascribes to Pythagoras. 
The comparison, again, of right-angled triangles having their sides 
in the ratio of integral numbers with other right-angled triangles 
led to the discovery of the irrational or incommensurable. Not 
only did the Pythagoreans discover that the ratio of the hypo- 
tenuse of an isosceles right-angled triangle to one of its other sides 

1 The Pythagoreans expressed this idea in their motto <r^<zf6a /cal j3a/Aa 
aXX* ov a"%afjua, real rpiteffoXov c a figure (proposition) and a platform, not 
a figure and sixpence.' (Proclus 3 Comm. on EucL j 3 p. 84). The motto no 
doubt recalls the story of the pupil who was bribed to learn mathematics 
by the gift of a triobol for each proposition mastered. 



brother,, Pepl II Neferkere, the child of the elder Pepi's old age, 
who was six years of age, and lived to be a hundred: old men's 
sons often live to a great age. His reign of 94 years (c. 2738-2644 
B.C.?) is probably the longest in history. 

Herkhufs inscription gives us a glimpse of this king as a child 
soon after his accession. Three times in Merenre's reign he had 
gone to the far southern land of Yemaim by way of the river or of 
the Oases, and after his fourth journey he returned to the court 
of the juvenile second Pepi bringing with him as trophy the 
famous deneg-&w&r y like that brought to Isesi by Baurded (p. 2 8 9). 
So delighted was the little king at the coming of the deneg that 
he caused a special royal rescript to be indited to the explorer 
while he was on his way downstream, bidding him *come north- 
ward to court immediately and bring this dwarf with thee,' telling 
him to have special guards over him on his boat to prevent his 
falling into the water, and in his tent at night to see that no harm 
comes to him: 'inspect him ten times a night/ *My Majesty,' 
says the letter, 'desires to see this deneg more than the gifts of 
Sinai and of Puenet. If thou arrivest at court, the dwarf being 
with thee alive and well, My Majesty will do for thee a thing 
greater than that which was done for the chancellor of the god, 
Baurded, in the time of Isesi, for it is the heart's desire of My 
Majesty to see this dwarf. Commands have been sent to the chief 
of the New Towns, the Companion and High Prophet, to com- 
mand that you take provisions from him in every store-city and 
every temple, without stinting therein/ These are the actual words 
of the rescript, dated under the royal seal in the second year of 
the reign, which Herkhuf In pride set up, copied on stone outside 
the door of Ms tomb at Aswan. One can see the impatience of the 
eager child to see his new plaything, and can compare it with the 
slow senility and death of the aged man he became^ more than 
ninety years later, 

The long reign of Pepi II began no doubt under splendid 
auspices, with energetic and Intelligent ministers, a well-filled 
treasury and a widespreading dominion. It ended In decay and 
confusion. We hear little of actual events after the first few years. 
The special Interest in Nubia and the Sudan, which had begun 
in the reign of Pepi I, was at first maintained; and the c Keeper of 
the Door of the South/ as the governor of the Cataract-region 
was named, was one of the most important magnates of the king- 
dom. This dignity was held under Pepi II by a chief of Aswan 
named Pepinekht. Another chief of Aswan named Sabni, son of 
Meklm, tells us that he went to Nubia to recover the body of his 


father, who had been killed there, and brought It back safely to 
be embalmed and laid In his tomb. Puenet was constantly visited 
either Jby the land or sea route, and an official named Khnumhotep 
records that he went to Kush (Ethiopia) and Puenet eleven times. 
Ships were built at the head of the Gulf of Suez for the sea voyage, 
and there the caravan-leader, Enenkhet, was killed by the ^eriu- 
sha with the company of men he had taken *to build a ship there 
for Puenet/ Pepinekht avenged him and brought back his body. 
Herkhuf, and others also, were described as ' caravan-leaders/ 
and the title was regarded as a distinction. These wealth-bringers 
were benefactors to the state. A most lively commerce went on by 
way of the Nile, the Oases, or the Red Sea, with the nations of the 
south; gold In abundance, ebony and ostrich-feathers were poured 
Into Egypt, who, in return, did much to civilize the barbarians. 

It will be noticed that negroes are now mentioned for the first 
time by the Egyptians. This naturally means that the Egyptian 
caravans now pushed further south than ever before; but at the 
same time there Is no doubt that the negroes were also themselves 
pushing north. In the early days, when Zoser inaugurated the 
Egyptian policy of domination In Nubia, there were no negroes 
there, the country being inhabited by a people closely akin to the 
Hamitic Egyptians, but unaffected by northern elements, and 
living In a simpler state of culture. But In Pepi's day the negroes 
had come well down the Nile-valley, as the skulls found In graves 
of the period prove. They were wedging themselves firmly In the 
valley, and separating the Hamitic tribes of the south from the 
civilized and modified Hamites of Egypt. The inscriptions give 
us hints of their restlessness. Herkhuf, on one of his journeys, 
finds the negro king of Yemaim marching by the ancient Dark 
el-Arba'in*, the road of the Oases, northwards on his way *to the 
land of Tamahu (Libya) to smite Tamahu as far as the western 
corner of heaven: I went forth after him to the land of Tamahu, 
and I pacified him/ 

The barbaric culture of these negro tribes Is known to us from 
the contents of their graves in Nubia. They had attained great 
excellence in pottery-making, in a style apparently imitated from 
that of the native Nubians, and no doubt acquired with the women 
who made it. That they were formidable warriors is evident 
enough. In the succeeding age, the time of the Xllth Dynasty, 
we find the negro for the first time among the inhabitants of 
Egypt itself, and that possibly, not merely as a hired or impressed 
warrior as under the Vlth Dynasty, but a settler. We can see under 
the Middle Kingdom, for the first time, the facial traces of negro 


bloocTin the representations of the Egyptians; and it may well be 
that there was" negro blood In the royal house, whicH was of 
southern origin. At the same time we find actual settlements of 
these Nubian negroes in Egypt. These may have^been originally 
captives or soldiers; but there is also the possibility that, at the 
end of the old kingdom, after the ^close of Pepi IPs reign, an 
actual negro invasion took place 5 which reduced the southern half 
of the kingdom to chaos, and left the traces which we see. From 
this chaos it was only rescued, as we shall read, after long civil 
wars between the princes of the south and those of the north. It 
has also been supposed that an Asiatic invasion took place at this 
time (pp. 340 sg., 344)- t ^ T 

A breakdown certainly delivered Egypt over to anarchy, and 
possibly permitted its invasion by barbarians. Its cause may be 
found in a centrifugal tendency, which first become noticeable to- 
wards the end of the Vth Dynasty, andhad made great strides during 
the long and weak reign of Pepi II. It is probable that the usurpa- 
tion of the Three Brethren had inflicted a serious blow upon the 
prestige of the monarchy, which had been unchallenged since the 
accession of Khasekhemui. Under the Vth Dynasty we seem to 
see the central authority of the court weakening, until, in the time 
of Pepi I, we find a nobility no longer exclusively attached to 
Memphis, while the authority of the royal sheriff in the provinces 
has largely passed to the local magnates, who now reside in their 
towns and on their estates, and are no longer necessarily buried 
at Sakkarah near the king but in their own territories. The title 
of hatfo or erpati haffo^ * hereditary prince/ now appears as the 
designation of the local ruler of the noine. No doubt under the 
Vth Dynasty many of the old royal officers had turned their 
temporary cures into hereditary fiefs. We have noble examples in 
the princes of the district of Aswan, who lived on the island of 
Yebu or Ibu, the later Elephantine. There were many others of 
like local importance. The policy of the court was now to ensure 
their fidelity by the conferring of great honours and titles, such 
as that of * Keeper of the Door of the South,' which however meant 
that their qxiasi-indegehiient position was still further accentuated. 
And when, as we know was the case during the latter part of 
Pepi IFs reign,, the toyal authority became weakened, there was, 
in default of an energetic new sovereign, no possibility of its 
restoration. The successors of Pepi II were entirely ephemeral, 
and are only interesting because one of them, Neterkere, appears, 
though a mail, to be the original of the Nitocris of Herodotus : 
Manetho accepts the identification and speaks of a queen Nitocris 


in this place. Neterkere was followed by a Menkere, and the 
similarity of his name to that of Menkaure led to the association 
of Neterkere (confused with the Saite queen's name Neitakrit, 
i.e. fi Nitocris*) with the Third Pyramid of Gizeh 1 * With them the 
dynasty ends (c+ 2630 B.C.?), 

We now reach this time of weakness and confusion, probably 
complicated by barbarian invasions, which we know as the First 
Intermediate Period: the interregnum, so to speak, between the 
Old and the Middle Kingdom. Shadowy and ephemeral kings 
continued to reign at Memphis, forming the Vllth and Vlllth 
Dynasties of Manetho; nevertheless, they were still recognized as 
kings, as we find in the case of Neferkauhor and Neferirlkere II 
at Abydos and Coptos respectively. Their authority was probably 
early abandoned in the south; and when the princes of Hininsu, 
or Heracleopolis in Middle Egypt, had the audacity to proclaim 
themselves kings, and set up a rival court in their city, the south 
was entirely cut off. The Turin Papyrus gives eighteen Hera- 
cleopolite kings, and Manetho says there were two Heracleopolite 
dynasties, the IXth and Xth. The first and greatest of the Hera- 
cleopolites, Meriebre Ekhtai, or Khati, appears as Akhthoes in 
Manetho, who makes him the founder of the IXth Dynasty. The 
ancient (Theban) lists did not, however, acknowledge the legiti- 
macy of the Heracleopolites 2 , These kings certainly controlled all 
the south, but apparently not Memphis, where the really legiti- 
mate house still continued to rule. The south at first acquiesced 
in the Heracleopolite rule; and we find king Uazkere, one of 
Ekhtai's successors, peacefully recording his decrees on a stele at 
Abydos. But, later on, the princely family of Epet, the later 
Thebes, behaved to the Heracleopolites precisely as they had be- 
haved to the Memphites : they set up an independent principality 
and usurped control of all the south. The nome of Siut remained 
faithful to Heracleopolis, but the whole country further south 
passed to Thebes, which now first appears in history. During the 
lifetime of three successive princes of Siut, Ekhtai, Tefabi, 
and a second Ekhtai, father, son and grandson an intermin- 

1 The genesis of the story and its combination with the tale of the Greek 
courtesan, Rhodopis, are discussed by the present writer in the Journal of 
Hellenic Studies, vol. xxiv (1904), pp. 208 sqq. 

2 That the Memphite dynasty still existed seems to be shown by the 
official illegitimacy of the Heracleopolites. The legitimate sceptre passes In 
the Theban lists immediately from the Memphites to the Thebans, Had the 
Heracleopolites ever reigned over the whole country without a concurrent 
dynasty at Memphis, they would have been recognized by the Thebans. 


able civil war went on, the Tlieban attacks growing gradually 
stronger. Memphis perhaps plucked up courage^ and possibly 
attacked Heracleopolis from the rear, apparently with theielp of 
rebels in the city itself, The second Ekhtai tells us of the revolt, but 
nothing of any participation by Memphis; we can hardly suppose, 
however, that the Memphites took no part in the attack, The Hera- 
cleopolite king Merikere fled south to Siut, and was restored to his 
capital by Ekhtai, who sailed to Heracleopolis with an immense 
fleet of boats and overawed Middle Egypt into submission. The 
attack from the south, however, was pressed, until, finally (whether 
after the death of Merikere or not we do not know), Thebes broke 
through and overwhelmed Siut, and with it no doubt Heracleopolis 

It was not long before Memphis and the Delta also fell before 
the arms of the conquering Thebans, and the 'Old Kingdom' of 
Egypt finally came to an end. The Turin Papyrus closes the first 
great period of Egyptian history at the end of what appears to be 
Manetho's VHIth Dynasty (the last Memphites), as it there gives 
a summary of the regnal years of the kings since the accession 
of Menes, thus marking the end of an age (see p. 170). The 
Heracleopolites of the IXth and Xth Dynasties accordingly 
belong to the 'Middle Kingdom' that now followed, though we 
have found it convenient to treat of them in this chapter. With 
the first Thebans of the Xlth Dynasty we enter the new age. 




WE do not know which of the Theban princes was the con- 
queror of Slut and Heracleopolis, but it was one of the 
two or three between Intef-o, or Iniotef-o, the first who assumed 
royal dignity, and Mentuhotep Nebhapetre, who ruled over the 
whole kingdom from north to south. A certain Meri ruled Epet 
(Thebes) in the time of the Vlth Dynasty; but after his time it 
fell under the rule of the princely house of the neighbouring town 
of Hermonthis. We have a record of a chief of Hermonthis in the 
Heracleopolite period named Intef or Iniotef (Antef); but the 
earliest Theban of the Hermonthite house whom we know was a 
certain Iniotefi (Intefi), son of Ikui, probably a near descendant 
of the Hermonthite Intef, who ruled the whole south under the 
Heracleopolite king, and 'made his two lands to live/ Then came 
Intef 'the great/ Intef-o (Antef-aa), who made himself king and 
founded the Xlth Dynasty (c. 2375-2212 B.C. ?). He adopted the 
royal style of 'Horus Uah-ankh ("increasing life"). Son of the 
Sun Intef-o/ He also called himself Insibya^ 'King of Upper and 
Lower Egypt' (a title to which he had no right de facto), but 
assumed no throne-name. In this he was copied by his two suc- 
cessors, and the preference of all three for the Horus-title may 
perhaps be due to a wish to insist upon their legitimate position 
as Upper Egyptian kings, ruling by the right of Horus* Intef 
Uah-ankh pushed his frontier beyond his own original domains 
as far north as the district of Akhmim (Panopolis), and made the 
Thinite nome (Abydos) his 'Door of the North/ thus imitating 
the old official description of Aswan as *the Door of the South/ 
The stele recording this is dated in his fiftieth year, which need 
not be taken to mean literally his fiftieth year as king, but to 
include his years as prince of Thebes before his assumption of 
royal dignity* Though a long-lived man, he need not have been a 
long-lived king; and as his proclamation of himself as king must 
at once have brought down upon him the enmity of Heracleopolis 


and Its powerful vassal, Siut, a reign of fifty years would imply 
fifty years of fighting, which seems Improbable. 

To him succeeded Intef II, Horns Nakhtnebtepnefer, -&nd to 
him Mentuhotep I, Horus Sankhibtoui, who may possibly be 
identical with the Mentuhotep who assumed the throne-name 
Nebtouire ('Lord of the Two Lands of Re'). If so, he may have 
been the conqueror of Siut and Heracleopolis, and adopted the 
throne-name to mark his overthrow of the last Heracleopolite, 
Merikere or an unknown successor. This is however only a sur- 
mise, and Nebtouire may be the successor of SankhibtouL His 
successors bore a throne-name in the usual way, and their Horus- 
name resumes its usual place in the titulary, the first of them 
being apparently Nebhapetre Mentuhotep II (or III). This king 
seems at one time to have spelt his throne-name differently (as 
*Nebkhrure') 3 and to have borne two Horus-names, Neterhezet 
and Samtoui. These mean * Divine is the White Crown (of Upper 
Egypt)* and * Uniting the Two Lands/ and he appears to have 
adopted the latter in the middle of his reign, in order to com- 
memorate the overthrow of Memphis and the reunion of all Egypt 
under one sceptre, which cannot have taken place after his time, 
while he Mmself was undoubtedly king of all Egypt. This change 
has a much older precedent in the case of Khasekhemui after 
he had reunited the two lands (p. 276), and precedents were 
followed by the Egyptians. It has been usually assumed that the 
names point to two kings; but both the Turin Papyrus and Mane- 
tho agree that there were only six kings in the dynasty, and, if 
this is so, we must telescope' into one, either Sankhibtoui and 
Nebtouire, or Neterhezet and Samtoui, 

Nebhapetre's reign was long (r. 22902242 B.C.?), and he is 
the dominant figure of the dynasty. We have monuments of him 
from various parts of Egypt, notably from Dendera, where he 
rebuilt or added to the Temple of Hathor, and from Der el-Bahri, 
in the western necropolis of Thebes, where he excavated his tomb 
and built in front of it a remarkable funerary temple, excavated 
by the Egypt Exploration Fund in the years 19037, under the 
direction of Professor Naville and the present writer. In this tomb 
we see that the temple has gradually so grown and the pyramid 
so diminished that the pyramid has become a mere meaningless 
erection in the middle of the temple, the actual tomb being at the 
back of the whole building, deeply excavated in the rock. The 
coloured reliefs, fragmentary though they are, from the walls of 
the building have given us a new idea of the art of the time, which 
has since been confirmed from Dendera. Under the older kings 


of the Xlth Dynasty the sculptor's art, neglected in days of ruin 
and civl! war, appears extraordinarily barbarous in style. Beauti- 
fully explicate reliefs had been produced under the VI th Dynasty,, 
but in two or three centuries the whole tradition of the art of the 
Memphites had been lost in the south, and the work of the times 
of Uah-ankh and his successors is amazingly crude. It is still 
crude under Nebhapetre, but improving enormously. The name 
of this king's chief sculptor, Mertisen, is known; and in his 
funerary inscription he speaks as one excessively proud of his art, 
and as if it were altogether unusual to be good at it. 

After a reign that certainly exceeded forty-six years, Nebhapetre 
was succeeded by another Mentuhotep with the throne-name 
Sankhkere, of whom nothing much is known beyond the fact that 
he sent an expedition by sea to Puenet, though he reigned about 
thirty years (c. 22422212 B.C.?). With him the Xlth Dynasty 
ended, after a duration of about 160 years, and, after some palace 
intrigue of which we do not know the details, the Xllth Dynasty 
began with Sehetepibre Amenemhet I (c* 2212 B.C.?), 

Amenemhet I shows by his name that he was more especially 
devoted to Amon, the god of Epet. The Mentuhotep names of 
the Xlth Dynasty had shown fidelity to the original home of the 
family at Hermonthis (Erment), the seat of the god Mentu or 
Munt. We know that the family relationship of Amenemhet to 
the Mentuhoteps was close, though there is a break marked by 
the change of dynasty. He may have been descended from the 
Iniotefs in a younger line, and was possibly the vizier of Sankhkere, 
The Mentuhoteps did not particularly venerate Amon, whence 
it is possible that Amenemhet's immediate progenitors had speci- 
ally devoted themselves to Thebes. Amon,, its human-headed god, 
was probably a local form of the ancient and well-known god Min 
of Coptos, His temple was that of Karnak, called Nesut-toui} *the 
Thrones of the Two Lands,* and it is probable that this was 
already very ancient. The temple in southern Epet (Luxor) was 
a later foundation. 

Amenemhet made this god the official chief deity of Egypt; 
and he was soon identified with Re, and as Amon-Re, but bearing 
the outer semblance of Amon only, he was made king of all the 
gods. A new king of the gods appeared with the new king of men, 
It cannot be said yet, however, that the centre of gravity of the 
nation has shifted to the south, to the city of Amon. For a time 
the later kings of the Xlth Dynasty had apparently made Thebes 
their capital, but those of the Xllth, Thebans though they were > 
found that the capital was better placed towards the north. Never- 


thelesS, they did not restore either Heracleopolis or Memphis to 

this position^, but, instead, built for their capital a fortress-city 

between the two, in the neighbourhood of the modern JLisht, 

which they called Itht-toui, * Controller of the Two Lands/ a 

name which explains its character and function. The kings of the 

Xllth Dynasty were strangers in the north. We do not know 

whether Amenemhet I or his predecessor, Nebhapetre, legitimized 

their position by marriage with the Memphite or the Heracle- 

opolite family or with both. But the fact remained that they were 

the descendants of the mere nomarch of Hermonthis and Thebes, 

places entirely undistinguished in previous history, and that (possibly 

owing to the invasion of the southerly nomes by Nubian and negro 

barbarians after the close of the VI th Dynasty), they had become 

the wardens of the south, and had then assumed the Pharaonic 

dignity and enforced their claim to it by arms. They did not 

attempt to hide their origin. Thebes was never ashamed of it, and 

in the (otherwise very inaccurate) Karnak list of kings even the 

nomarch Iniotefi is commemorated as erpati. Moreover, Senusret I 

set up a statue in honour of *his father, the erpafi^ Intef-o, born 

of Ikui/ This is probably the nomarch Intefi, though he is given 

the peculiar name (Intef-o) of king Uah-ankh. 

Comparatively plebeian origin was thus openly confessed, and 
a show of force seemed necessary to assure the royalty of the new 
house, at all events in the north, where the kings lived, in order to 
check instantly any attempt at revolt. Amenemhet I was no doubt 
the builder of Itht-touL The energy and determination he showed 
was maintained by his successors, especially by Senusret III 
(Sesostris) and Amenemhet III (Lamaris), two of the greatest rulers 
that not only Egypt, but even the world, has ever seen. 'Char- 
acter* is the distinguishing mark of these kings, and energy is 
evident in their contemporary portraits, which seem to show a 
strain of negro blood, probably derived from fierce Sudanese 
invaders of the south, three centuries or more before. In them the 
Pyramid-builders were re-born, Khufu and Khafre had come again. 

The * hereditary prince* (erpati-hatio) still rules his nome as in 
the days of the Pepis; he is still locally almost independent of the 
king. But the latter no longer impotently tolerates his independ- 
ence and his waging of private war, but watches him cat-like 
from his lair at Itht-toui, ready to pounce at any sign of defiance 
of the royal authority. This was still precarious, and the passage 
from one reign to another was always dangerous. For this reason 
Amenemhet I inaugurated the institution of co-regency, character- 
istic of this dynasty, so that in his old age he might have by his 


side a younger and vigorous fellow-king, bound to him by ties of 
self-interest, even if those of filial duty had no weight, who would 
succee^ him automatically and obviate the danger of an interreg- 
num and revolt of feudatories. This device is characteristic of the 
politic mind of the founder of the Xllth Dynasty, who bequeathed 
to his son a set of maxims, renowned in later days as a classic, * the 
Instructions of king Sehetepibre/ inculcating a hard wisdom. 
Above all, his successor is warned to have no friends. "Fill not thy 
heart with a brother, know not a friend, make not for thyself 
intimates wherein there is no end, harden thyself against sub- 
ordinates, that thou mayest be king of the earth, that thou mayest 
be ruler of the lands, that thou mayest increase good/ This note 
of * increasing good* is characteristic of this king and of his 
dynasty; and their claim is justified that in their time the good of 
the people as a whole was considered and furthered. *I was one 
who cultivated grain and loved Nepri the harvest-god; the Nile 
greeted me in every reach; none was hungry in my years, none 
thirsted then; men dwelt in peace through my deeds and spake 
concerning me/ says Amenemhet in his * Instructions/ We meet, 
in the mind of Amenemhet, for the first time, the conception of 
single-minded public duty, and the obligation of the king to 
benefit his subjects, which became the tradition of his descend- 
ants. They, following his policy, succeeded in the end in completely 
breaking the power of the local princes, and re-established a cen- 
tralized state like that of the IVth Dynasty, though of course with 
differences of detail, and with a higher purpose, 

Amenemhet spent his life 1 in visiting every part of his dominions 

1 A most interesting object of his time, probably, is the lapis seal-cylinder, 
a bilingual, published by Pinches and Newberry, Journ. of Eg. Arch, vii, 1921, 
pp. 196 sqq. It contains the Babylonian name Pikin~ili, or rather Wakin-ili, 
and that of the Egyptian king, Sehetepibre", probably the first of the three 
who bore this name, Wrs. Amenemhet I. Certainly the cutting of the Egyp- 
tian signs is of XII th Dynasty character. The character of the cuneiform 
itself is inconclusive; and it cannot be maintained that, because it resembles 
that of Sargon of Akkadand Naram-Sin, the date of Amenemhet, and therefore 
of the Xllth Dynasty, should be carried back to their time. The name of 
the Babylonian owner is of a period not earlier than that of Hammurabi 
(c. 2100 B.C.), which is broadly that of the Xllth Dynasty. To date the 
latter (with Petrie) 1460 years before 2000 would take us to 3460 B.a, the 
days of the earliest Sumerian patesis, before cuneiform really existed, and 
long before such an inscription as that of Wakin-ili could have been cut; 
though, of course, it might be argued that Wakin-ili had his name inscribed 
on the cylinder centuries after it was made. Hence the later date for the 
Xllth Dynasty not earlier than 2200 B.C. still remains the more prob- 
able. See also p, 1 69. 


and iri warring against the barbarians on every hand. Towards 
the end of his life the young king Senusret (Sesostris I),*his son, 
naturally took his place'in warlike expeditions; and while he ]yas ab- 
sent on one of these in Libya, the old king died and was buried in a 
pyramid at Lisht, close to Itht-touL We know of the circumstances 
from the Romance of Sanehat or Sinuhe, the story of a young noble 
who accompanied Senusret. *In the year 30, second month of the 
first season, on the yth day, departed the god into his horizon, the 
insibya Seheteplbre. He ascended to heaven, he joined the sun; 
the divine limbs were mingled with him that begat him. At the 
court was silence; the great double doors were closed, the court 
sat mourning, the people bowed down in silence/ On the arrival 
of the news of the king's death, Senusret immediately left the 
army ('the hawk, he flew; together with his following, not letting 
the army know 7 ), In order to ensure his accession. SInuhe, how- 
ever, for reasons which we do not gather, but were probably con- 
nected with some intrigue against Senusret, of which he was 
cognizant or In which he had taken part, fled alone, crossed the 
Delta, and exiled himself till old age with a Semitic tribe. Eventu- 
ally he was pardoned and returned to Egypt, to be received in 
full state by the king, and be buried in a tomb, the royal gift, as 
befitted an Egyptian noble, and not in a sheepskin like an Arab. 
All this we learn from the story, a classic of the Xllth Dynasty, 
known to us from no less than twelve papyri and ostraca (see pp. 
226 f#.). 

Amenemhet I had reigned thirty years (c, 22122182 B.C.?). 
Of these the last ten were shared with his son. Comparatively full 
as our knowledge is with regard to the history of the IVth to the 
VI th Dynasties, our information with regard to the Xllth is far 
more complete. All the lists agree with each other and with the 
monuments as to names; and the Turin Papyrus gives 213 years 
for the length of the dynasty, the monuments apparently 212. 
Manetho's years are not very correct, but Ms names (since the 
necessary emendations of his copyists* errors are easily made) are 
very accurate Contemporary records of dates in the years of the 
various reigns are frequent, and can be checked by each other in 
several instances owing to the habit of co-regency which was 
regular during the first half of the reign (see above). The Turin 
Papyrus allows for these co-regencies. We have now, therefore, 
passed from the region of guess-work Into one of documented 

Senusret I ('Usret's Man') bore the name of Usret, a god- 
dess not often met with in Egyptian mythology and usuallv 


Identified with Isis. It is the original of the c Sesostris* of the 
Greeks. *But whereas Manetho's copyists have preserved it for 
Senusixt II, in the case of the first of the name some careless 
transcriber has confused it with the name of the much later king 
Sheshonk (the biblical Shishak) and gives it as 'Sesonkhosis/ His 
throne-name was Kheperkere. He reigned 45 years in all (c. 
2192-2157 B.C.?), ten in conjunction with his father and three 
with his son. Seven years before his father's death he officially 
laid the foundation of a new and splendid temple of the Sun at 
Heliopolis (On), the sole remaining relic of which is his red 
granite obelisk still standing amid the palms of Matarieh. Its 
fellow fell in 1258 A.D. and has disappeared. Another monument 
of his is the small round-topped obelisk at Ebgig, in the Fayyum. 
He built extensively at Abydos and Karnak. We have a fine lime- 
stone relief of him from Coptos, which shows how entirely the art 
of Egypt had recovered from the dark age into which it had fallen 
after the time of the Pepis, and from which it only began to emerge 
in the days of Nebhapetre. The work of the time of Amenernhet I 
is already of extraordinary delicacy and beauty. The tomb of the 
nome-prince Ameni at Beni-Hasan is one of the finest in Egypt, 
with beautiful painted decoration showing the taste and sense of 
proportion characteristic of the art of the dynasty (seep. 575). From 
its inscriptions we learn that the king was an energetic warrior, 
and carried his arms into Kush, the nome of Ethiopia, which we 
first find mentioned under the Vlth Dynasty, and is now the usual 
appellation of the Nubian land. Ameni seems to have been a loyal 
feudatory who followed his king to war with all the forces of his 
nome. Stelae were set up by Amenemhet I at Korosko to record 
'the overthrow of Wawat* (northern Nubia between the First and 
Second Cataracts), which had presumably revolted at the change 
of dynasty. And at Wadi Haifa Senusret I commemorated his 
further conquests. He presumably reoccupied southern Nubia, 
between the Second and Third Cataracts, which had already 
belonged to Pepi L 

Hapzefi, prince of Siut, was Senusret's governor at Kerma (the 
Third Cataract)* He is well known from his great tomb at Siut, 
in which are inscribed his numerous benefactions and chantry- 
foundations. But he was never buried in this tomb. He died at 
Kerma, and was interred there under a great mound, in Nubian 
fashion, surrounded by the bodies of Nubian slaves who were 
killed in order to accompany him to the next world. The discovery 
of this gives a new idea of the relations of the Egyptians to their 
Nubian subjects. We see these ruled, apparently, by tyrannical 

C.A.H.I 20 


Egyptian satraps, who treated them as slaves. From the relics 
found in the burial of Hapzefi we perceive that a sort of colonial 
art had begun to arise In Nubia: Egyptian Ideas were clumsily 
copied and modified by the natives. From this time dates the 
'Egyptianization* of the Nubians, which in far later days caused 
Egyptian civilization to survive there In a debased form when it 
was dead In Egypt itself. Mixed with the native Nubians were the 
negroes, who had probably overrun the country, and perhaps even 
penetrated Into Egypt itself during the intermediate period between 
the Old and Middle Kingdoms. The expeditions of the kings of 
the Xllth Dynasty seem chiefly to have been directed against the 
negroes who were recognized as formidable foes, and in the time 
of Senusret III seem to have pushed the Egyptians back from the 
Third to the Second Cataract. 

Senusret I was burled in the southern pyramid of Lisht, in the 
Immediate vicinity of Itht-touL Ten colossal seated figures of the 
king In white limestone were found In a court east of the pyramid, 
and are now In the Cairo Museum. His successor Amenemhet II 
Nubkaure, reigned 35 years (c. 21502115 B.C.?), three years In 
conjunction with his father, and three with his son. Manetho calls 
him Ammanemes, and says he was slain by his guards. He was 
the least-distinguished of his dynasty; and several of the great 
men of his time are better known to us than he, notably Khnum- 
hotep, son of Neheri (prince of the nomeof Mahez, whose tomb 
at Bern-Hasan is one of the most interesting there), Tahutihetep 
of el-Bersheh, Sihathor the explorer of the Nubian gold-mines, 
and Khentekhtal-uer, who sailed to Puenet and returned to 
Koseir In peace with his ships in the king's twenty-fourth year. 
The gold of Nubia was now flowing in a steady stream into the 
royal coffers; and though we may see in this reign a falling-off 
from the energy of the two preceding, and possibly a revival of 
activity on the part of the feudatories, the accession of wealth to 
the court did much to secure the position of the king. 

Se&ustet 11^ Khakheperre, reigned nineteen years (V, 2118- 
2099 B^^thiree years with his father and possibly an unknown 
number of years witH his son* Like his predecessor, he does not 
seem to have been a warrior, arid Nut>Ia was probably peaceable 
during his reign. Egypt was rich and prosperous, and Its fertility 
and abundance were now attracting a considerable immigration 
of Semites from the desert into the settled land. In the tomb of 
Neheri's son Khnumhotep at Beni-Hasan, already mentioned, we 
see depicted the reception of a body of 37 Aamu (bedouins), led 
by a chief, Abshai, who brought with them tribute of meszamut, 


or green antimony eye-painty the modern kohl^ which was, and still 
is, muclrprized by the Egyptians (see p. 228). This was in the sixth 
year ofjSenusret IL Relations existed with other foreigners besides 
the Semites. At Kahun in the ruins of the town of the workmen 
who built the pyramid of the king at Illahun, near the entrance 
to the Fayyum, have been found many fragments of the contem- 
porary polychrome pottery of the Minoans of Crete. This ware, 
known as * Kamarais ' or * Kamares * ware, from the locality of the 
cave on the southern slope of Mount Ida ? in which a great quan- 
tity of it was found, is of the period commonly designated as 
< Middle Minoan II,* which was thus contemporary with the 
Xllth Dynasty (see p. 175). 

We know that relations with Crete existed even earlier .than 
this, for the spiral design which suddenly appears on Egyptian 
scarabs of the time of Senusret I was of Aegean or more northern 
origin, and the art of glazing pottery was probably imported from 
Egypt into Crete earlier still. The forms of Cretan stone vases of 
the older * Early Minoan' period also appear often to be imitated 
from those made in Egypt under the Vlth Dynasty and earlier. 
The ships of Snefru that went to Phoenicia were no doubt soon 
succeeded by others that coasted round the southern shore of Asia 
Minor, and that the early Cretans were keen seafarers who could 
well cross the sea to Libya and thence coast to Egypt we know* 
In the time of Sankhkere, Henu, the Puenet-farer, had defeated 
an attack of the Haau a name read later as 'Haunebu' and 
identified with the Greeks of the Delta. The pyramid-town in 
which the users of Cretan pottery dwelt was called <FLet-hote$- 
Senusret^ 'the House of the Peace of Senusret/ The excavation 
of it has given us the best-known example of an ancient Egyptian 
town, with its complex of streets and houses; and in its ruins have 
been found a number of hieratic papyri, containing legal and other 
documents of high interest. The pyramid is of brick, faced with 
stone, on a core of rock. 

Senusret II was succeeded by his son, the great king Senusret 
III, Khakaure, or 'Lachares* (c. 20992061 B.C. ?) 5 who best de- 
serves part of the renown attached to the name of Sesostris in later 
legend. Tales of the wars of the XVIIIth Dynasty kings, of Seti I, 
and especially of Ramses II, have combined with echoes of the 
days of its real original, to form the legendary figure of the 6d|i- 
queror Sesostris, who marched even to Bactria and India. The 
historical Senusret III confined his activity to Nubia "and southern 
Palestine*; the inscription of one of his followers, Khusebek, tells 
of the Nubian wars and of an expedition against a place in 


Palestine called Sekmeni, In which a doubtful conjecture would 
find the biblical Shechem (p. 229). 

In Nubia Senusret set up at Senineh, the ancient fortress com- 
manding the Second Cataract, above Wadi Haifa, an inscription 
couched in unprecedented phraseology, reminding us strangely of 
that of the proclamations said by Diodorus to have been inscribed 
on stelae by the legendary Sesostris to commemorate his conquests. 
This Is my frontier here, he says in effect: no negro shall pass 
north of It. *I am the king, and what I say I do/ he^adds. The 
successor who abandons this frontier Is no son of mine. And I 
have put up my statue at this my frontier 'not from any desire 
that ye should worship it, but that ye should fight for it! ' Sarcasm 
Is not usually found in an ancient Egyptian inscription. The king 
seems to have had no very great idea of the valour of his subjects. 
Evidently the negroes were troublesome in his reign, and it would 
seem that the king's two predecessors had abandoned the Dongola 
province, and that for military reasons he was compelled to establish 
an impassable barrier against the barbarians at the desert of the 
Second Cataract region, where, In later days, In spite of his pro- 
hibition, he was worshipped as the tutelary deity of Nubia. 

The energy of this proclamation is reflected in the traits of the 
king's face, which we know well from several statues of him, 
notably those discovered in the forecourt of the temple of Neb- 
hapetre, at Der el-Bahri, where the king had placed them as a 
tribute to his great predecessor. These represent the king at 
different periods of his life, from youth to old age. Three are in 
the British Museum, and the oldest shows us a visage of fierce 
vigour and pride. He reigned 38 years, some of them possibly In 
co-regency with his father, and seems to have associated his suc- 
cessor with him on the throne, although so masterful a man would 
be hardly likely to delegate any of his authority for long. Probably 
he had removed all danger of feudal revolt. His power bore 
heavily on the great local princes, who no doubt found in him a 
hard task-master. The Amenis and Khnumhoteps of earlier reigns 
do not reappear under him. He abolished their power, and his 
successor was the all-powerful divine lord of all Egypt, as Khufu 
and Khafre had been* 

He was buried In the northern brick pyramid of Dahshur, north 
of Lisht. Near him were Interred his queen and two of the prin- 
cesses of his family, whose graves have yielded to the Cairo 
Museum an inestimable treasure of the jeweller *s art of ..the time, 
in the shape of beautiful pectoral ornaments, bracelets and scarabs 
of gold inlaid with carnelian, jasper, lapis and green felspar, neck- 


laces of solid gold cowries,, beads of gold and amethyst, and 
pendant's in the shape of the claws of lions. 

The great Sesostris was succeeded by the greater Amenemhet 
III Ne-maat-re or 'Lamaris' (V. 20612013 B.C,?) ? one of the most 
remarkable monarchs of antiquity. He was the counterpart in 
peace of what Sesostris had been in war. His reign lasted 48 years. 
He associated with him in his royalty for a time a prince named 
Hor ? with the throne-name Auibre, who seems to have died before 
him. Thereafter he ruled alone, the 'good god' who benefited 
Egypt more than any before him, except possibly the unknown 
early maker of the Bahr Yusef, the artificial stream that duplicates 
the course of the Nile and widens its cultivation for so many scores 
of miles in Middle Egypt. He was the regulator, rather than the 
creator, of Lake Moeris, now represented by the somewhat dif- 
ferently lying Birket el-Karun, in the Fayyum, the ' Lake Province' 
dedicated to the worship of the crocodile-god Sebek. The Fayyum, 
owing to its proximity to Itht-toui, had engaged the attention of his 
predecessors from the time of Amenemhet I; the third Amenemhet 
regulated the outflow of its waters into the Nile by constructing a 
barrage at Lahun, and reclaimed a large expanse of its shallow 
waters by means of a huge curved dike. The great building at 
Hawara in the Fayyum (called *the Labyrinth' by the classical 
authors) was built by him, and he was buried here in a pyramid. 
Some extraordinary statues and sphinxes of unique style, formerly 
attributed to the Hyksos, found at Tanis, and representing Nile- 
gods and possibly the king himself, were probably originally 
erected by him at Hawara, and later transported to Tanis by a 
Hyksos king. The extraordinarily rugged and original style of 
these monuments, if they are his, reflects the powerful mind of 
this king, who inherited all the vigour of the great Sesostris. 

Sinai, the land of the turquoise and of copper, was much ex- 
ploited by him, and we have numerous records on its rocks of 
expeditions sent thither during his reign. In Nubia he seerns to 
have restored the old southern dominion in the Dongola province, 
which had been abandoned by Senusret III; and he built or 
rebuilt one of the twin brick fortresses called Defufa, at the Third 
Cataract (Kerma), which had been occupied as a trading outpost 
and point d'appui since the days of Pepi I, and where Hapzefi 
was buried with his native household in the time of Senusret I, 

Imposing and stable must the constitution of Egypt have 
appeared in his reign. In his time, as has been said, all power was 
centred in the monarch, and the old hereditary chiefs of the 
nomes had been succeeded by a bureaucracy of town-mayors, 


corresponding to the county-sheriffs of the IVth Dynasty. Yet, as 
so often occurred, when the state seemed most firmly organized, 
collapse was near. Its stability now depended on the personality 
of the king: if that failed, the whole fell to pieces. This was the 
case now* Amenemhet III was succeeded by a nonentity, Axnenem- 
het IV, and he, after a reign of nine years alone, by a queen, 
Sebeknefrure. The latter reigned four years, and then probably 
married the founder of the XHIth Dynasty, Khutouire Ugafa, 
whose personal name shows that he was a commoner or noble of 
another family, who assumed the crown in the right of his wife. 
His quite legal accession was not acknowledged at Thebes, which 
set up a king of its own, no doubt a junior male member of the 
royal family. Several Theban monarchs reigned, Senusret IV and 
several Mentuhoteps. They put up their statues at Karnak, but 
they are not mentioned in the lists, which recognize only Khu- 
touire and his successors, who reigned at Itht-toui. They were 
devotees of Sebek, as the name Sebekhotep, characteristic of the 
family, shows. Egypt was once again divided. 

The Turin Papyrus gives Khutouire no less than fourteen 
successors, all of them ephemeral, before Sebekhotep I, Sekhem- 
khutouire, reunited the land for a time. Two kings named 
Sebekemsaf then ruled Thebes alone, followed by Sebekhotep II, 
and the brothers Menuazre, Neferhotep and Sebekhotep III, 
who again controlled the whole country. These brethren appear 
to have been of plebeian origin, and it is evident that the royal 
succession was drifting into a very confused state. After their 
time the kingdom finally failed to reunite. At Thebes the royal 
house of later Intefs or Iniotefs, the most prominent of whom 
bore the throne-name Nubkheperre, preserved a comparatively 
powerful kingdom in the south; but the north was evidently the 
prey of civil war, until finally, in the reign of a king of the Delta 
whom Manetho calls Toutimaios, belonging to the XlVth or 
Xoite dynasty, northern Egypt was enslaved by a foreign con- 
queror from Asia, Salitis, the first of the Hyksos or ' shepherd- 
kings* (c. 1800 B.C.?)* 


The Hyksos conquest was me greatest national disaster that 
ever befel the Egyptians until the Assyrian conquest a thousand 
years later. Its memory was never forgotten, and it left on the 
minds of the Egyptians an enduring hatred of the Asiatics, which 
transformed them, under the kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty, into 


the vengeful conquerors of Asia. Never before Bad Egyptian 
territory been held for centuries by foreigners. And although the 
rulers x>f these foreigners dressed themselves in the titles and 
authority of native pharaohs, they were never accepted as rightful 
kings. Only for a short period did they succeed in conquering 
Upper Egypt and ruling the whole country. Thebes made a stout 
fight against them at the beginning under the later Intefs; and it 
was at Thebes under their descendants the Sekenenres that the 
national revolt began which ended in their final expulsion by the 
founder of the XVIIIth Dynasty, Fahmases or Ahmose (Aahmes, 
Manetho's Amosis), an event which the great Jewish historian 
Josephus regarded, and justly, in the present writer's opinion, as 
the original of the biblical story of the Exodus (see pp. 164, 237). 

The Hyksos were doubtless chiefly Semites of the northern or 
Syrian type, led by a royal sheikh. The name Hyksos is the Egyptian 
Hifcu-kkasut (pronounced in later times something like hik-shos\ 
'princes of the deserts/ the usual appellation for bedouin chiefs. 
Abshai is so called in the tomb of Khnumhotep (p. 306). Indeed, 
Khayan, or Khian, the greatest of the Hyksos kings, actually has 
the title htk-khasut. Manetho translates the phrase as * prince of the 
shepherds/ by confusion with another word, s/zasu ( c bedouins *), 
who might well be described as shepherds, since the chief occupa- 
tion of those Arabs who lived on the borders of Egypt was the 
breeding and herding of immense flocks of sheep. One sees the 
same thing in Mesopotamia to-day: the desert Arab, the camel 
and horse-breeder, despises the shepherd of the borderland of 
'the sown/ It was to the horse and chariot, as well as to superior 
weapons, that the invaders owed their victory. Neither was known 
to the Egyptians before this invasion. One Egyptian word for 
'horse/ htori^ really means "yoked,' and refers to the yoking of 
the two steeds to the chariot, another, sesem y is apparently Semitic; 
and of the two foreign words, for * chariot/ wererit &&& markakata> 
the latter is Semitic. 

This great invasion can very probably be traced to that epoch- 
making event, the first appearance of the Indo-Europeans on the 
Near Eastern stage. Shortly before 2000 B.C. the Aryans seem to 
have descended from the Oxus-land into Media, and made their 
presence felt on the eastern mountain-border of the Semitic king- 
dom of Babylon, the realm of the great law-giver Hammurabi and 
his successors. They brought with them from central Asia the 
horse, hitherto unknown to the Babylonians, who had previously 
gone to war in chariots drawn by asses (see pp. 107, 501). The 
Egyptian, although he had multitudes of asses, had never harnessed 


them 'to wheeled carts. Babylon was taken^ and sacked^ by the 
Hittites (c. B.C. 1926?), who retired after their raid, carrying with 
them their spoil to distant Anatolia (p. 56 1). The derelict kingdom 
was subsequently pounced upon by the Kassites, who swarmed 
over the Zagros under Gandash, and founded a dynasty (Aryan) 
at Babylon which lasted for six centuries (see Chap. xv). Simul- 
taneously, other Aryan tribes seem to have entered Mesopotamia 
further north; and in the region of the Khabur and Balikh the 
state of Mitanni was eventually set up, ruled by a royal house and 
aristocracy of horse-riding Kharri ( PAryans), and worshipping, as 
we know from cuneiform documents of the Atnarna Age, the gods 
Indra, Varuna, and the Nasatya twins (the Asvins). Moreover the 
chief god of the Kassitesis said to have been Shuriyash^ the Indian 
Surya (with nominative termination)., the Sun (p. 553). This fact 
shows that the differentiation between Indian and Iranian Aryans 
had not yet taken place* 

It is easy to imagine the confusion caused in northern Syria, 
already highly civilized, by the invasion. There would be a con- 
siderable displacement of the native population which would react 
further south. Waves of dispossessed Syrians must have flowed 
into Palestine, followed by bands of the Kharri^ and it is highly 
significant that in the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty (1400 B.C.) 
we find in Palestine such names as Yashdata (Yazdata) and Shu- 
wardata (Suryadata, i.e. ( Given by the Sun': 'Heliodotos'). The 
congeries of nations, mingled Syrians, bedouins, and Aryans then 
burst the weak barrier of the * Prince's Wall * that had hitherto 
sufficed to defend the Delta, and overwhelmed Egypt. These 
people neither knew Egypt nor reverenced her gods; they burnt 
and destroyed the temples and enslaved the people; the echo of 
their impious deeds moves Manetho in his day to passion; and 
the Delta, especially, was so ravaged that it did not recover till the 
time of the XlXth Dynasty, three or four centuries later. During 
the period of the XVIIIth its cities are hardly ever mentioned in 
the inscriptions. The Theban kings alone succeeded in stemming 
the torrent, and for a time preserved their independence. But 
murder and rapine could not go on for ever, and the chiefs of the 
newcomers assumed Egyptian royal dignity. The Hyksos kings 
reigned at Avaris (probably Pelusium). Another stronghold was 
at the place now known as Tell el-Yehudiyeh, 'the Mound of the 
Jewess 3 ^ (near Zagazig), a name that may preserve a memory of 
the nationality of its builders. Memphis also was one,, of their 
chief seats. 

The Hyksos may well have owed much of their success to their 


bronze scimitars (pp 319? 57 2 )- According to Manethb, they 
formed'two dynasties, the XVth and XVIth. Naturally their names 
are ignored in the official lists. Manetho gives the names of their 
first kings, Salitis, Bnon, Apakhnas, Apophis, lannas, and Aseth, 
which have been identified with more or less success with various 
unplaced royal names that occur on scarabs and other relics of 
this period. It was probably somewhere about this time that the 
Theban king Intef Nubkheperre lived, who in a remarkable stela 
set up at Coptos tells us how he cursed root and branch 'Teti (let 
his name be anathema!), son of Minhotep,' who had received c the 
enemy' in the temple of Coptos, 'Let him be expelled from his 
office in the temple: even unto his son's son and the heir of his 
heir let him be cast forth. Take his loaves and sacred food: let 
not his name be remembered in this temple, as is done to one 
who like him hath transgressed with regard to the Enemy of his 
God ! ' Evidently Teti was a priest who had received an emissary 
of the Hyksos or possibly had even admitted a Hyksos garrison 
into Coptos. 

There were certainly several kings of the name Apophis, in 
Egyptian Apopi. The first of these was pretty certainly he who 
bore the significant throne-name of Neb-khepesh, ' Lord of the 
Scimitar/ Apopi II Ouserre, and Apppi III Okenenre, were of 
later date, and among the last of the Hyksos. Between the earlier 
group vouched for by Manetho and the later Apophis came 
several less distinguished kings bearing Semitic names, Yekeb-hal 
('Jacob is god 7 ), Ye|:eb-ba al ('Jacob is lord'), c Ant-hal ( : Anath 
is god'), and then Khian, who bore the Egyptian throne-name 
Seuserenre (see p. 232)* He took the unusual title of ink-idebu^ 
Embracer of Territories/ and proclaimed himself as the Mk-khasut. 
The alabastron-lid bearing his name found at Cnossus in Crete may 
well be an importation of his time; the small stone lion with his 
throne-name from Baghdad may have been brought from Egypt 
at a much later date. Neither proves that his power reached Crete 
or Babylon, But he was undoubtedly a powerful monarch, and 
there is little doubt that under him Theban independence no 
longer existed. His successor Apopi II recorded his rule at 
Gebelen in Upper Egypt, south of Thebes. This king also set up 
great gates in the temple of Tanis in the Delta, and we have a 
record of the thirty-third year of his reign in the subscription of 
a mathematical papyrus. 

A doubtful king, Setopehti Nubti, commemorated by Ramses 
II as having reigned 400 years before his time, will if he is a king 
at all, and not merely the god Set (Sutekh) himself, belong to 


about this time (c. 1700 B.C.). There is also Osehre, who 
erected an obelisk at Tanis, and Apopi III, in whose time the final 
war broke out with Thebes that resulted in the Expulsion x>f the 
Hyksos. A tributary king Sekenenre I, Taa, *the great/ who bore 
the Egyptian royal titles, reigned at Thebes about forty years 
before the Expulsion, and in his reign the War of Liberation 
probably began. About 1615 B.C. he was succeeded by Sekenenre 
II, Taa, 'the twice-great/ who was shortlived, and was followed 
perhaps about 1605 by Sekenenre III, Taa 5 'the great and vic- 
torious/ who was either killed in battle or assassinated (probably 
about 1 590)5 as we know from the appearance of his mummy, now 
in the Cairo Museum. The actual manner of his death and the 
order in which he received the blows that struck him down can be 
reconstituted from examination of the mummy. He married a 
princess named lahhotep, and by her had three sons, Kainases 
(Kames), Senekhtenre, and lahmases (Amosis or Ahmose), who 
succeeded each other in order on the throne, the last being the 
liberator and founder of the XVIIIth Dynasty. 

At the beginning of the reign of Sekenenre III a temporary 
peace existed between the two powers, probably after a struggle 
that had resulted in the pushing forward, in the reign of Sekenenre 
I, of the Theban power at least as far northwards as Herinopolis. 
For it is in that reign that the queen lahhotep was born, and 
with her begins, so far as we know, the popularity of names con- 
nected with the moon (lalihotep, lahmases) and the moon-god 
Thoth (Thutmases ? Thutmose or Tethmosis) in his family. It 
would seem probable therefore, either that the family was of 
Herinopolite origin, or, as is more likely, that in the reign of 
Sekenenre I the Thebans had captured Ekhmunu (Hermopolis 
Magna), and then adopted the lunar names, in honour of the 
liberated god^ However this may be, in the time of Sekenenre III 
Thebes was still tributary to the Hyksos. Contemporaneously with 
Sekenenre III reigned the Hyksos Apopi III; and from a papyrus 
wp learn that war broke out between the two owing to the pro- 
vocation of the Hyksos, who complained that the roaring of the 
hippopotami in the royal tank at Thebes disturbed his sleep at 
Ayaris, Since 'the white land* was tributary to him, he sent to the 
King of the South to request an abatement of the nuisance. 
Sekenenre summoned his counsellors, who knew not what to 
advise him to reply to the Hyksos, good or ill. He no doubt 
endeavoured to placate his overlord with fair words, but, Apopi 
was bent on war, which resulted disastrously for the Theban. In 
the reign of Kames we know that the Theban dominion reached 


only as far as Cusae, which is a long way south of Hermopolis. 
The wsS: is described by Manetho as a long and mighty one- It 
must iiave greatly resembled that waged by the original Thebans 
against the Heracleopolites five centuries or so before, and was no 
doubt carried on intermittently and with various success. Kames, 
however, must have again renewed it, and it is probable that he 
took Memphis, the capture of which is not mentioned under 
Amosis (lahmases), who took the war into the Delta. He captured 
Avaris and, after a siege of three years, Sharuhen in the Negeb of 
southern Palestine, where the remnant of the Hyksos had con- 

We do not know the name of the last Hyksos king. From the 
inscription of Aahmes, a companion of the king, we know that a 
certain Aati invaded Egypt south of the Delta while Amosis was 
absent, after the taking of Sharuhen, in a punitive expedition 
against the Nubians. This may have been an attempt on the part 
of the expelled to regain their position. Amosis easily defeated 
him. Another enemy named Teti-an, who was then * extinguished ' 
(as the inscription says), was pretty certainly an Egyptian rebel. 
Thenceforth the land had peace, and entered into the flourish- 
ing period of the *New Kingdom,* reunited under the rule of 
Amosis and his descendants, the kings of Manetho's XVIIIth 
Dynasty. The accession of Amosis can be dated within a few 
years either way to 1580 B.C. Avaris was taken about 1578, and 
Sharuhen about 1575 B.C. With these historical dates our survey 
of the earlier period of Egyptian history closes, 


The debatable point with regard to the Egyptian Middle 
Kingdom, the history of which has been briefly described above, 
is its date: the period of time which it covered (see p. 169). We 
have followed in a modified form the shorter chronology which 
at present is accepted by the majority of Egyptologists, It is im- 
possible to believe that the events of the Middle Kingdom, the 
essential outlines of which we have given, can fill out the fifteen 
hundred years that are necessitated by the 'long* chronology, as - 
against the four or five hundred at most that the 'short* chronology 
demands. There is not the material to fill the longer period; ahd 
the differences between the early XVIIIth Dynasty and the Xllth 
are notjsuch as would inevitably be seen if eighteen hundred years 
had intervened between them instead of only four hundred* After 
all, four hundred years is a pretty long period of time, in which all 


the changes we see between the civilisations of the two periods 
may easily have been brought about. We hold therefore Chat the 
period of the Middle Kingdom, which ended certainly within a 
few years either way of 1580 B.C., began with the Xlth Dynasty., 
not earlier than about 2400, the XHth having flourished between 
2212 and 2000 B.C* 

Within these limits the Middle Kingdom forms a well-defined 
epoch of ancient Egyptian civilization. In some respects it may 
be regarded as marking its culmination. Remarkable as are the 
revelations of late years with regard to the art of the Old Kingdom, 
that of the XHth Dynasty still holds its place as the classic age 
of the sculptor, the painter, the wood-carver, and the jeweller of 
ancient Egypt, And the Middle Kingdom is the classical period 
of the Egyptian language. Its correct literary form is now fixed 
until the time of the Ramessids, when the current 'slang' locutions 
of the day were first admitted into formal inscriptions. Under the 
XVII Ith Dynasty official phraseology and book-talk, 'classical 
Egyptian,* differed from the usual speech of ordinary life much 
as happens to-day; the speech of the Xllth Dynasty was still used 
for formal purposes as that of the eighteenth century is now. But 
under the Xllth Dynasty the language of the inscriptions, the 
classical tongue, was the ordinary language of the time. It is in 
the inscriptions of the Middle Kingdom that we find the language 
in its greatest purity. So far as material civilization went, we 
perhaps do not see much advance upon the standard of the Old 
Kingdom, Under the XVIIIth Dynasty Egypt entered upon an 
altogether widened world, with immeasurably increased demands 
and hitherto unheard-of satisfactions. The Middle Kingdom was 
still in the same stage of development as the Old, so far as foreign 
relations were concerned and the broadening (and degeneration) 
of culture that resulted therefrom. Egypt was still, as in the days 
of the Pyramid-builders, self-contained. She needed nothing from 
others but big timber, oil and wine from Syria, for which she 
bartered the contents of her overflowing granaries and some of the 
gold which her Nubian slaves got for her. For her actual sub- 
sistence she raised more than all that was necessary : her imports 
were a few luxuries* She was self-sufficient, and needed no foreign 
gods, foreign wives, and foreign ways such as came to her later 
in the time of the conquering kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty. 

Egypt in the time of the Xllth Dynasty was still a world by 
itself, ruled by a god in human form, as it had been in the time 
of the Pyramid-builders, and there was as yet no comity with other 
non-Egyptian, political organizations as there was in the time of 


the XVIIIth Dynasty, when the king of Egypt addressed the 
king ofTHattij of Mitanni, of Babylon, or of Assyria, as Monsieur 
men JFr&re. . .je suis de Votre Majeste le bon frere/ We may 
compare the pharaohs of the Xllth Dynasty, in relation to the 
outer world of Babylon, of Elam, or of the Hittites, the world of 
Hammurabi and his predecessors, with the great Chinese em- 
perors of the eighteenth century, with K'ang-hsi and Chien-lung, in 
their relation to the outer world of England, France and Holland, 
before the catastrophe of the wars of the nineteenth century proved 
to China, as the Hyksos conquest had to Egypt so many thousand 
years before, that there were other people in the world besides 
herself. We shall not therefore look for any great difference be- 
tween the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt so far as the 
general life of the people is concerned. We have seen in both ages 
change and evolution in local government, alternate periods of 
strength and weakness of the central royal power, corresponding 
to periods of weakness and strength of local magnates, of whom 
some one fortunate or more than usually energetic family may 
succeed in acquiring the royal authority Itself, and, as the reigning 
house, may eventually extinguish the local power of less successful 
princely families originally perhaps more important than itself. 
But whether the pharaoh was powerful or weak, whether dues 
were paid to the court or to the chief^ the life of the fellah has con- 
tinued practically unchanged throughout the centuries. 

So far as the life of the common people Is concerned, Egypt is 
the most amazingly unchanging country in the world, it has 
changed less even than China. The life of the fellah of the Xllth 
or even of the IVth Dynasty is much the same as it is to-day. 
The change of religion to Christianity and then to Islam has 
altered nothing but the form of prayer : the changes of political 
allegiance have mattered nothing at all. The agricultural and 
urban classes were differentiated just as they are to-day. The 
'Story of the Eloquent Peasant/ which dates from the Xllth 
Dynasty, tells us of the relations between the hemtiu or artizans of 
the towns and the sekhtiu or fellahin. Many wrongs and indignities 
did a certain long-suffering sekhti of the Fayyum bear from an 
overbearing hemti^ till at last he complained to the royal high- 
steward, MeruitensL On the steward's report of the matter, the 
king told his nobles to see how many times the sekhti would make 
complaint, if nothing was done. Again and again he came until 
finally ,30 charmed were the nobles with his importunate eloquence 
that the Jiemti at last got his deserts (see p. 349). The lot of the 
sekhtiu was hard. As now, they rarely moved their habitat, and 


\vere practically tied to the land, which belonged either to the king 
or to the great "feudatories, and after the Middle Kingdonl also to 
the great priest!} 7 corporations. They were serfs, but not slaves. 
The latter were chiefly foreign war-prisoners, and it is perhaps to 
colonies of Nubian prisoners that we may ascribe the peculiar 
"pan-grave" burials, with their Nubian pottery, that occur in 
Egypt at this period. The Theban kings of Hyksos times seem to 
have lost control over Nubia, and we find the ancient trading 
settlement of the Defufa-fortresses, which had been founded in 
the reign of Pepi I, destroyed by fire in the Hyksos period, prob- 
ably in a negro revolt. We have seen that one of the first tasks of 
Ahmose after the expulsion of the Hyksos, was the restoration of 
Egyptian dominion in Nubia and of the commerce in gold, 
ostrich-feathers, and slaves which had contributed so much to the 
wealth of the Xllth Dynasty kings. 

The forbidding of private war by Amenemhet I and his suc- 
cessors certainly bettered the condition of the common people, as 
their lot must have been miserable during the dark age of civil 
war that preceded the triumph of the Thebans. No doubt they 
were better off during the period that immediately ensued, when 
the land had peace; but the old local princes, who would be sym- 
pathetic to their own peasants and retainers, still ruled their nomes. 
The abolition of hereditary jurisdictions however, probably by 
Senusret III, and development of a local bureaucracy, probably 
by Amenemhet III, must, though it operated admirably in the 
interests of the monarch, have often borne hardly on the fellahin, 
who would now be exposed to the exactions of petty officials. But 
a new element in the state had now appeared, which rendered the 
change from feudalism to bureaucracy easier than otherwise it 
would have been. This was a real middle-class of free townsmen 
and small landholders, which had not existed under the Old King- 
dom. These people could supply the army of scribes and officials 
necessary for the new regime, 

The supremacy of the authority of the court meant that the 
king V vizier 'and his myrmidons resumed a power that they had 
not possessed since the days of the IVth Dynasty, It paved the 
way for the elaborate bureaucratic state-organization which we 
find under the XVIIIth, with its two viziers, its independent 
treasurer, its royal assessors, its local courts of justice, and so 
forth, all ultimately under the control of the viziers, but with 
various checks and balances devised to prevent the danger, of too 
great a concentration of power in the hands of subjects. The 
vizier under the Xllth Dynasty was head of the civil administra- 


tlon of the south and north. Under him were 'the great ones of 
the southern Tens' (an ancient title the precise meaning of which 
escapes us) who supervised all records for purposes of land- 
measurement) taxation and corvee. The yearly obliteration of 
landmarks caused by the inundation necessitated then as now an 
enormous amount of survey and adjudicatory work. The vizier 
also supervised the law-courts, the six * Great Houses* and the 
* House of the Thirty/ and he could be High Treasurer also, a 
position which was never permitted under the XVIIIth Dynasty, 
when the vizier had no control of the public purse. The Xllth 
Dynasty vizier was by no means always a stationary minister, 
resident always at the court or capital. He was often sent out on 
expeditions to fetch gold or chastise Nubians, and was expected 
to act in a military capacity when required. 

The armed force of the court was a body of regular infantry 
soldiers, many of them Sudanese, recruited for the king's service, 
and stationed at various places, chiefly no doubt at Itht-toui, in 
Nubia, and in Sinai, under commanders who had been brought 
up at the court under the royal eye. During the first half of the 
dynasty the local princes also had their own armed retainers, whom 
the king could call out on his service under the leadership of their- 
lords, as under the Vlth and Vllth Dynasties. But these fell into 
desuetude with the privileges of their masters. The chief arms 
were, as under the Old Kingdom, the bow (a very weak one) and 
arrows (with heads of flint still, or hardened wood), the broad- 
bladed spear, long bill, and small hatchet (usually of copper, but 
bronze is beginning to appear), and a short sword or dagger of 
bronze with a peculiar hilt of ivory let into the metal. Swords and 
hatchets were often inlaid with gold. Towards the end of the 
Middle Kingdom a new form of bronze sword, or rather scimitar 
(khepesK] y of peculiar kinked form, was introduced, perhaps by 
the Hyksos. It later became the most favourite arm. The stone- 
headed mace of the Old Kingdom was no longer used (p. 572,). 

In connexion with weapons it may be said that the Egyptians 
passed from the Chalcolithic to the Copper Age about the time 
of the IVth Dynasty, and from the Copper Age to the fully- 
developed Bronze Age during the Middle Kingdom, Under the 
Xllth Dynasty stone was still employed for the cheapest of knives 
used by the fellahin for chopping up meat, etc., and for the arrow- 
heads which once shot off would never be recovered. Razors and 
fine daggers, however, were now of finely-tempered bronze, 
ordinary knives and weapons of copper. Horses and chariots 
were unknown till the Hyksos conquest (above, p. 31 1); but they 


were speedily adopted by the Egyptians, and no doubt used by 
the Tliebans'in the war of liberation. But it can be seen that their 
use in Egypt must always have been hampered by the peculiarities 
of the terrain* Nilotic warfare was conducted on ship-board, and 
it was the river flotilla rather than the array of chariots that was the 
chief weapon of war-makers in Egypt. Not until they carried war- 
fare into Palestine in pursuit of the fleeing Hyksos did the 
Egyptians realize the full value of the chariot. It was no doubt 
owing to the difficulty of using their chariots in Egypt that the 
Hyksos did not at the first rush conquer the whole valley as far 
south as Nubia. 

The popular idea of the Egyptians as no sailors and as afraid 
of the sea is entirely erroneous. The Egyptians fought well at 
Salamis and at Navarino: the Ptolemaic navy ruled the seas. And 
in the early days they sailed to Phoenicia in the time of Snefru or 
earlier, and to Somaliland under the Vlth Dynasty. Under the 
Xllth the voyages of Enenkhet and Henu were often repeated. 
Egyptian trading and revictualling settlements existed all along 
the Red Sea coast, and ships were always coasting from one to 
the other on the way to or from Puenet, As usual, the sailor-mind 
developed many a tale of the wonders of the voyage, one of which 
is known to us, 'the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor/ and is of 
this period (see p. 348)* 

On land the ass formed the sole means of carrying,, and the ox 
of dragging transport. The camel, though it must have been 
known, is -never represented. It was the animal of the bedouins 
and was probably regarded as specially unclean. The ass was never 
harnessed to a cart. The wheel was not an Egyptian invention. 
The sledge-runner was universal as the under-carriage of man- 
drawn carts until the introduction of the chariot at the end of the 
Middle Kingdom* In all probability the cart-wheel was first in- 
vented by the Surnerians or the Elamites. The potter's wheel also 
may have come from the same source, as it does not appear in Egypt 
till well on in the Old Kingdom, but was evidently used much 
earlier in Elam. On the other hand, the Egyptian was the inventor 
of the art of glazing pottery. Glass, originally always blue, made 
from copper-frit, was an Egyptian discovery of late predynastic 
days.^ The blue glaze was used to coat not only the light faience 
of siliceous sand held together with gum or paste, but soft stone 
also, such as steatite, of which blue glazed scarabs, imitating lapis 
or turquoise, were first made towards the end of the Old Kingdom, 
and came into regular use in the reign of Senusret I. See^p. 576. 

Artists of all kinds found ample scope for their talents in the 


decoration of the tomb and its appurtenances. We see a notable 
development in the furniture of the Middle Kingdom tomb that 
marks^it off from the tombs of the preceding and succeeding 
periods. With the great wooden chests containing the body, often 
sealed up in a covering of cartonnage (pasted thicknesses of linen 
covered with stucco), painted in imitation of the human face and 
form, were buried innumerable wooden models of varying excel- 
lence of workmanship., depicting the dead man's ghostly servants 
engaged in field-labours, emptying sacks of corn into granaries, 
grinding the grain, making beer of it, stamping out the grapes to 
make wine, butchering animals, carrying dead wild fowl, and so 
on, while models of boats with sails of linen complete are always 
present with little wooden soldiers, Egyptians and negroes, on 
board with their cow-hide shields and their spears, and a deck- 
house in which sits a small figure of the great man himself. All 
these, like the wall-decorations of the larger tombs (now usually 
painted in tempera rather than sculptured in relief as under the 
Old Kingdom), had a c magical* purpose. They were intended to 
turn into actual servants in the next world, to carry on a life for 
the dead like that which he had led on earth, 

We now for the first time find in the tombs, though rarely, the 
shauabti (#,r^/z)~figures, or * answerers,* which in later times were 
the commonest accompaniment of the dead* These were supposed, 
as stated by the VI th chapter of the Book of the Dead, which later 
on was inscribed upon them, to answer 'Here am I!* whenever 
the dead man was called upon to do any work in the other world. 
They possibly represent the servants who in early days had been 
actually put to death in order to serve their masters beyond the 
grave. We know that in Nubia slaves were executed at the tomb 
with this object; and it is by no means certain that in the case of 
the burial of the king inhuman rites of this kind were not still 
practised during the Middle Kingdom. The priestess-princesses 
who were buried in the precinct of the tomb-temple of Nebhapetre 
at Der el-Bahri were very probably his harem-women, killed and 
buried with him. And the enigmatic bodies found with the big 
funeral boat in the tomb of Amenhotep II, under the XVIIIth 
Dynasty, may also have been slain royal favourites. This boat is 
the last known example of the custom of burying such models 
with the dead, which had died out by the beginning of the XVIIIth 

The custom of mummification was as yet by no means common, 
bodies ^>f this period being usually found as skeletons. But the 
wrappings of fine linen (one of the oldest Egyptian inventions) 

C.A.H.I zi 


had been In use from the time of the Old Kingdom, and a special 
goddess, Tait, presided over their manufacture and use* To be 
buried in such, and to wear linen garments in life, were the mark 
of the civilized Egyptian, who prided himself much on the purity 
and cleanliness of his garments and his clean-shaven face and 
head, as compared with the greasy woollen or skin habiliments 
and the hairiness of foreigners* The wig was a concession to 
nature; it was worn also by women, but over their own hair. Boys, 
and sometimes little girls, wore three-quarters of the head shaven, 
while a single plaited lock hung over the right ear. This was the 
symbol of youth; the boy-god Harpocrates was represented with 
it, and the fashion never changed. 

The masta&a-tomb was now given up, and the great were buried 
in rock-cut sepulchres opening in the sloping face of the desert- 
clifFs bounding the river valley. The king, however, was still 
buried in a pyramid, though he might, like Senusret III, have a 
duplicate tomb cut in the rock at Abydos, or like Nebhapetre 
have a dummy pyramid as a mere ornament to his tomb-chapel, 
the actual rock-cut tomb being in the cliff. Persons of lesser note 
than the feudal nobles were buried in tomb-chambers opening out 
of the bottom of a deep shaft. 

Under the Middle Kingdom the religion of the dead was bulk- 
ing more and more in the Egyptian mind. Osiris, originally Syrian 
(pp.264, 333) now came to his kingdom. If the new god Amon-Re 
took command of the pantheon, the Delta god of the dead, known 
during the Old Kingdom only in Lower Egypt, was now para- 
mount among the shades. Osiris had passed from Busiris to 
Sakkarah in the Pyramid-period, and had become identified with 
the local Sokari; by the time of the Xllth Dynasty he had taken 
over Abydos from its original owner, the jackal Anubis, with his 
title of Khentamentiu. The very ancient funerary prayer (the 
ne$et-di-hefep formula), In which the king is besought to give the 
funerary, meals and everything 'good and pure' on which the dead 
man lives, in the presence of Anubis, is now addressed primarily 
to Osiris, *great god > lord of Abydos/ and the invocation of the 
kitig- has^become a meaningless phrase. The Busirite doctrine of 
the identification of the dead person, male or female, with the god, 
so that every dead man or woman or child became ipso facto a god, 
4 the god there/ 4 the Osiris N or Af/ is now in full vogue at 
Abydos as well as at Sakkarah; Osiris is the * universal lord' of the 
dead, the neb-er-xer or "Lord as far as the boundary/ and every 
Egyptian adores him. Abydos has become a place of common 
pilgrimage; all would wish to be buried there; those great ones 


who cannot sleep at Abydos have stelae put up there in their honour 
(p. 350$. It is more than probable that this national devotion to 
Osiris^t Abydos was deliberately encouraged by the kings of the 
Xllth Dynasty in order to foster a feeling of common nationality 
under Upper Egyptian auspices : the worship of Osiris and that 
of Amon-Re would go hand in hand. But the latter was not yet 
the universal god of the living as Osiris was of the dead. For the 
religious purposes of daily life the people preferred their own local 
deities. But in imitation of Amon, we find the custom beginning 
of identifying such local divinities as Sebek with Re. 

There was as yet no priestly class in the later sense, except at 
the necropoles, where the chantry-priests of the Old Kingdom 
had developed into cemetery-chaplains. The temples were now 
served by professional chief priests instead of nobles assuming the 
sacerdotal dignity, as under the Old Kingdom. But they were few 
in number, all the subordinate priests being laymen who per- 
formed priestly duties. It is not till the time of the XVIIIth 
Dynasty that the great priestly college of Arnon-Re at Thebes 
appears, which was to be imitated on a smaller scale in every 
temple throughout the land, so that in the days of Herodotus 
they had come to resemble a caste apart. 

Whether this development of the XVIIIth Dynasty was native 
* to Egypt and Thebes, or whether it was a foreign idea, derived 
possibly from Syria or Anatolia, we do not know. One later de- 
velopment of Egyptian religion, and that a heretical one, may 
perhaps be due to Semitic influence: w:s. monotheism. The heno- 
theistic worship of a god was common enough, but monotheism, 
whether patent or latent, was unknown to the native religion. We 
see it first in Egypt as a characteristic of the Semitic ETyksos kings; 
Apopi III 'took Sutekh for his lord and served no other god in 
all the land but he/ says the chronicler of the quarrel of the two 
kings, Sutekh was a god of the desert edge in the region of Lake 
MenzalehandPelusium: he was more than half Syrian and identical 
with a Semitic Baal (pp. 231 sy., 275), During the Middle King- 
dom he seems to have become identified with the Upper Egyptian 
god Set of Ombos; and in later times is depicted sometimes in 
Syrian guise and sometimes as Set. The Hyksos worshipped him 
as their patron-deity; and, in consequence, Set, who was already 
unpopular except at Ombos, owing to the old tradition of his 
hostility to Horus, became anathema to the Egyptians. His enmity 
to Horus took in a new meaning: he became the murderer of 
Osiris; is worship was proscribed. Under the XVIIIth Dynasty 
he never appears. But monotheistic traditions remained in the 


Delta lifter the expulsion of the Hyksos, and we shall find them 
developing at Heliopolis, always receptive of eastern influence, 
until, centuries later, under Amenhotep III and IV we h^ve the 
monotheistic adoration of the aton or solar disk as the living mani- 
festation of the one god behind the sun. But to the Egyptian such 
monotheism was as abhorrent as ApopFs worship of Sutekh had 
been. The Egyptian always worshipped many gods, and when, 
as Is sometimes the case In religious hymns, he appears to be 
praising one alone, it is henotheistic praise, not monotheistic. 

In religious literature the chapters of the Book of Coming Forth 
by Day were increasing in number, in complexity, and In unin- 
telligibility. But no doubt they fulfilled admirably their purpose, 
that of a guide to the devious ways of the next world. Sometimes 
at this time we find elaborate maps of the Duat or underworld 
painted with accompanying texts on the Inside of coffins. 

Besides the literature already referred to (see further, Chap, ix) 
we have a more human and more Interesting memorial of the 
Egyptian feeling with regard to death in a poem of this time, 
which was said to have been inscribed in front of the relief figure 
of a harper 'In the tomb-chapel of king Intef, deceased/ We do 
not know which of the kings of this name is meant. The harper 
was evidently supposed to sing the song, which has been likened 
to the Dirge of Maneros, which, Herodotus says, was chanted 
while the mummy-figure was carried round the feast : 

All hail to the prince,, th 

-Syjujfe his children remain for aye. 

The gods of old rest In their tombs, 
And the mummies of men long dead; 
The same for both rich and poor. 

The words of Imhotep I hear, 

The words of Horded e> which say: 

'What Is prosperity? tell! 9 

Their fences and walls are destroyed, 
Their houses exist no more; 
And no man cometh again from the tomb 
To tell of what passeth below. 

Ye go to the place of the mourners^ 
To the bourne whence none return; 
Strengthen your hearts to forget your joys, 
Yet fulfil your desires while ye live. 

Anoint yourselves, clothe yourselves well, 
Use the gifts which the gods bestow, 
Fulfil your desires upon earth. 


For the day will come to you all * 

w When ye hear not the voices of friends, 
^ When weeping avails you no more. 

So feast in tranquillity now, 

For none taketh his goods below to the tomb. 

And none cometh thence back again! 

'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die!' The refrain 
echoes down the ages from the time of king Intef. The pathetic 
character of the whole Egyptian care for the dead strikes one 
more and more: they took such pains to secure their own and 
their friends' happiness in the unknown; they persuaded them- 
selves that they knew all about it, and wrote magic guide-books 
to it. But the truth came out in the Song of the Harper, Yet this 
pathetic solicitude for the dead is evidence of a far higher culture, 
of a far greater humanity in the best sense of the word, in Egypt 
than among the Semites, with their wretched Sheol, and their 
comparatively primitive burymgs, Sinuhe chose well when at the 
close of his life he decided that he would not be buried in a sheep- 
skin like a bedouin, but would return to enter his swept and 
garnished tomb, to receive his mummy-swathings from the hand 
of Tait, and sleep in his great coffin of painted wood with his 
boats and his models of servants about him, 

The first period of the history of Ancient Egypt was brought 
to an end by a catastrophe which subjected the land to cruel 
foreign conquerors. The disaster may well have seemed to be 
foreshadowed in the weird prophecies of Ipuwer, which foretold 
dire calamities to come upon the land, the overthrow of the state, 
the invasion of foreigners, and the destruction of all civilization, 
followed by the advent of a Messianic ruler who should save 
Egypt from her misery (pp. 341, 345 ^.). This saviour might well 
have seemed to come in the persons of the Liberator and his 
descendants, the kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty. 



J\ CCORDING to Plato, while the love of knowledge would be 
jH^ chiefly attributed to his own country, people would especially 
connect the love of riches with the Phoenicians and the Egyptians. 
He was the one Greek who seems to have been unimpressed by 
that * wisdom of the Egyptians' which was almost a by- word in 
the mouths of his fellow countrymen. And the decipherment of 
the Egyptian texts has shown that Plato was right. 'Most scholars/ 
it has been said, 'would agree with the verdict that the Egyptians 
show no real love of truth, no desire to probe into the inner nature 
of things. Their minds were otherwise oriented: a highly-gifted 
people, exhibiting talent in almost every direction, their bent was 
towards material prosperity and artistic enjoyment; contemplation 
and thought for their own sake necessities to the peoples of 
Greece and India were alien to the temperament of the Egyp- 
tians/ Settled early in one of the most fertile river valleys in the 
world, in a land devoid, with the exception of the river itself, of 
any striking natural features which might stimulate the imagina- 
tion and encourage speculation, this people led a life which was 
for most of them one unchanging round of agricultural pursuits. 
This fact coloured all their activities and all their thought, and in 
particular made them perhaps the most conservative people the 
world has ever seen. Of practical wisdom there was no lack. The 
problems of land-division and tax-paying developed a noteworthy 
proficiency in mensuration and geometry; and though the Egyp- 
tians have been overrated as astronomers, they did at a very early 
period observe the movements of certain stars and arrive at a very 
accurate approximation to the length of the solar year, while their 
medical knowledge, though overlaid and obscured by magic, was 
far from inconsiderable. Yet on the speculative side there is little 
to place against this; of philosophy apart from religion there is 
literally nothing, and the nearest approaches to pure thought ate 
little more than attempts to reconcile conflicting religious systems. 
This was partly due to the concrete nature of the Egyptian 
methods of thought and perhaps yet more to an extreme con- 
servatism, which, rather than consign anything to the scrap-heap, 


would spare no pains to find some means, however fantastic, of 
reconciling two fundamentally incompatible beliefs. If the attempt 
failed 7ery little difficulty seems to have been felt in retaining the 
two side by side. 

It need hardly be pointed out how effectually this trait in the 
Egyptian temperament retarded the advance of speculation. At 
the same time it would be an error to suppose that Egyptian 
thought failed utterly to develop. Develop it certainly did, if by 
development be meant simply change, and not progress in a 
definite and upward direction. Not only can we watch this change 
taking place but we can to some extent lay our finger on the 
causes which produced it. And this will be our task in the present 

The history of Egypt was in a very special sense the result 
of her geographical position. She lies at the African exit of the 
sole land bridge which unites two great continents, Asia and 
Africa. In early, as in later, times that portion of Asia which lies 
nearest to Egypt seems to have been the centre of extensive and 
irresistible racial movements, in consequence of which Egypt was 
liable to be overrun every time she failed to defend her north- 
eastern frontier against the invading hordes. One such invasion, 
which took place between the Xllth and XVIIIth Dynasties, is 
well known to us, and an earlier one, between the Vlth and the 
Xllth, is sufficiently attested by recently discovered evidence. 
Unfortunately the history of the Delta is almost a complete blank 
to us throughout. It may be that in early days a human current 
swept backwards and forwards over the Isthmus of Suez just as 
it did over the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, if we read the 
evidence of Hissarlik aright. Be this as it may, it is obvious that 
circumstances which so profoundly influenced the history of 
Ancient Egypt must equally deeply have affected the life and 
thought of her inhabitants. Indeed it is to these events perhaps 
that we should in the main attribute the developments which we 
are about to trace. 

From the point of view of development we may perhaps con- 
veniently divide the period before us into three: the Archaic 
Period and Old Kingdom, the outcome, historically, of the group- 
ing in ever larger political combinations of the numerous inde- 
pendent tribes of early Egypt and their eventual unification in a 
single kingdom; the Earlier Intermediate Period, Vllth to Xth 
Dynasties, marked by the first great Asiatic invasions of the Delta; 
and the Middle Kingdom, XI th Xllth Dynasties, in which we see 
the feudal system fully organized and at the height of its prosperity. 



To gain an idea of the material conditions of life in Egypt at 
this early date we have only to look at the remains. These tell 
their story in a remarkably unambiguous manner, as other chapters 
in this volume have shown. When, however, we try to get into 
touch with the mind of the people and to watch its workings 
serious difficulties await us. The literature of the period which 
has come down to us consists almost entirely of a comparatively 
small number of historical inscriptions and a considerable body of 
religious texts of a most difficult type. In other words we are 
permitted to study the machinery of the Egyptian mind mainly 
in its application to the problems of death and religion. If, how- 
ever, we were right In affirming that it was on these subjects 
almost exclusively that the Egyptian exercised his speculative 
faculty. It is probable that our loss is less serious than might have 
been Imagined. 

There is nothing more impressive to the student of comparative 
religion than the numerical strength of the Egyptian pantheon 
and the diversity of type shown by the deities who compose it. A 
large number of Egyptian gods are probably totemic in origin ; 
such as Thoth the ibis god, Anubls, perhaps the jackal, Sebek the 
crocodile, and Horus the falcon. Side by side with these we find 
a group of nature gods, Re the sun god. Nun the primeval ocean 
or chaos, Shu the god of air, and so on. A third type consists of 
gods almost purely human in form and attributes, such as Isis and 
Osiris, while yet a fourth class was made up of deified personifica- 
tions of abstract or semi-abstract conceptions, such as Maat the 
goddess of truth or justice, Sia the god of Intelligence or know- 
ledge and Hu the god of * commanding utterance/ 

It Is beyond our scope to ask to what extent the combination of 
deities of such various types in a single pantheon presupposes the 
existence in the early Egyptian population of two or more different 
racial elements. What it does behove us to realize is that the co- 
existence of gods of at any rate the first three classes goes back 
far into predynastic times, and that In origin each of these gods, 
with few if any exceptions, possessed a purely local sway. There 
Is good evidence that In the predynastic period Egypt was inhabited 
by a number of Independent tribes, each of which had its, totem 
animal or plant as the case might be, a figure of which, mounted 
on a perch, formed the standard of the tribe or clan. In historical 

IX, i] LOCAL GODS 329 

times the true totemic stage has passed away and we are left with 
the worship of a god In human form with the head of the totem 
animal,-^iv"hile the domestication and sacrifice of animals together 
with the sacredness of the whole totem species still remain to 
testify to the origin of the system (see pp. 246, 290). 

These early tribes do not appear to have lived at peace with one 
another, and a study of their standards, as figured on certain 
predynastic vases, in conjunction with the later standards of the 
nomes, suggests very forcibly that the stronger among them were 
in the habit of absorbing their weaker neighbours. The inevitable 
result in such cases was that the god of the stronger became also 
the god of the conquered, though not necessarily to the complete 
exclusion of the defeated god. This process served, as the unifica- 
tion of Egypt slowly proceeded^ to bring into prominence a few 
particular deities at the expense of all the rest. Thus the falcon-god 
Horus, originally, it would seem, the local totem-god of Behdet 
in the Delta, became in predynastic times the national god of 
Lower Egypt, simply because the falcon tribe acquired an ascend- 
ancy over the other tribes of the Delta. Later still, on the unifica- 
tion of Upper and Lower Egypt, he became -the national god of 
the united country, and it was doubtless then that he was given a 
new home at Behdet of Upper Egypt, the modern Edfu. 

Now it will readily be understood that each local deity, whether 
theriomorphic, animistic or purely anthropomorphic in type, was 
surrounded by his own peculiar complex of belief and legend. 
Moreover, whenever Tribe A absorbed Tribe B, it was to the 
interest of both conquerors and conquered that god A should not 
completely delete god B 5 but should attempt some form of 
coalescence with him. And here we are face to face with the feeling 
which underlay all early Egyptian speculation, and which even in 
later times never ceased to play its part, namely the desire to 
bring into harmony with one another the more important of the 
innumerable local religious systems. Not that the local element 
ever disappeared. An inhabitant of Siut always prayed to Upwa- 
wet, the local god, perhaps a wolf-god, of Siut, though he never 
became in any sense a national god; even the king conformed to 
this and 'made his monuments * to Hathor when in Sinai and to 
Dedwen when in Nubia. This continual striving after harmony 
was thus an inevitable result of the political history of the Egyptian 
state. The state religion at any period was naturally that of the 
district pr even town from which came the ruling family for the 
time being, and each change of house meant the need of a fresh 
series of religious equations and absorptions (cf. p. 214 sy.). 


Unfortunately the Egyptian texts afford us very little help for 
the earliest period of all. It Is not indeed until the Vth arid Vlth 
Dynasties that the so-called Pyramid Texts give us a glin^se into 
the religious beliefs of the Egyptian people., a glimpse which is 
satisfying despite textual difficulties and obscure allusions. These 
texts are inscribed on the walls of the chambers and passages of 
five royal pyramids at Sakkarah. The earliest, that of king Unis, 
dates from the Vth Dynasty; the other four belong to kings Teti, 
Pepi I Merire, and Pepi II of the Vlth (see p. 290). The texts at 
first sight appear to be an almost systemless farrago of religious 
matter of every kind 3 introduced by a funerary ritual and a ritual 
of mortuary offerings. The more miscellaneous portion appears to 
lack arrangement almost entirely and contains fragments of 
myth and legend, charm, ritual and prayer jumbled together in 
inextricable confusion. 

The texts are purely funerary in purpose, that is to say, they 
are Intended to be of use to the dead king in leaving this world 
and in entering and dwelling in the next. They were probably in 
part recited at his funeral, and certain portions, written originally 
in the first person singula^ were intended to be used by himself 
in the new life. They were chosen with this end in view from a 
religious literature which, in part at least, is very much more 
ancient than the pyramids themselves. The internal evidence for 
this is incontrovertible, and we need only instance the passages 
which reflect a state of affairs clearly previous to the unification of 
Upper and Lower Egypt, and thus doubtless earlier than the 1st 
Dynasty. The advantage of this from our point of view is con- 
siderable. Since the literature from which the texts are drawn 
covers so long a period of years they should show some develop- 
ment in religious thought. And this they do. More than this, 
the later of them show distinct traces of editing, and of editing on 
very definite lines. 

It may fairly be said that the groundwork of the Pyramid Texts 
consists of sun-worship. The origin of this cult in Egypt is 
enveloped in darkness. All we know is that in very early times it 
centred in Heliopolis, a town not far north of the modern Cairo. 
Even here it was tiot the original cult, for the sun-god was 
identified in Heliopolis with an earlier local deity, Atum, of whose 
origin we know nothing, but who may just possibly have been an 
ichneumon totem, since in later times he is occasionally repre- 
sented in this form. The sun-god was also identified wittu Horus, 
the falcon-god of Behdet and later of all Egypt; the identification 
was supported by conceiving the sun as a falcon flying through 


the sky. This Idea was extremely popular, and it Is In the fdrm of 
Horns df the Horizon that the sun-god Is most frequently repre- 
sented, **ieven in early times. Yet again the sun-god may be 
envisaged as Khepri, the scarab beetle who symbolizes coming- 
into-existence, the sun's disc as It crosses the sky recalling perhaps 
in the popular fancy the ball of dung which the beetle rolls In 
front of him. 

In all this we see how strong was the tendency to harmonize 
sun-worship with the local totemic cults. The Impression we 
receive is that sun-worship, and Indeed the whole cosmic system 
of which it Is typical, was secondary In Egypt, Imposing Itself on 
a substratum of totemlsm. In any case, whatever doubts there may 
be on this point, one thing Is clear, namely that nine-tenths of 
the mythology of Ancient Egypt Is cosmic in origin, and that it was 
grafted on to a totemic system with which it had originally no 
connexion. Thus to Horus, a falcon totem in origin, was attached 
the whole of the mass of myth which centred round the sun, while 
to Thoth, originally an Ibis totem In the north-eastern Delta, 
accrued all the legend connected with the moon. 

The lengths to which Egyptian conservatism was prepared to 
go In this direction, rather than countenance a deletion or a mere 
brutal substitution, can be admirably Illustrated by the sun-myth 
Itself. Thus according to a widely received belief the sun-god 
appeared in the primeval ocean or chaos, Nun, and begat in 
miraculous fashion Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, his wife. 
These produced Geb, the earth-god, and Nut, goddess of the sky. 
From them sprang two sons, Osiris and Set, and two daughters, 
Isis and Nephthys. Osiris married his sister Isis, and of them was 
born Horus, who, be it noted, is himself In one of his forms 
identified with the sun-god his great-great-grandfather. Such 
contradictions as these seem to have had no repugnance for the 
Egyptian mind. 

Unfortunately we are unable to discern the nature of the 
political event, for such it undoubtedly was, which led each local 
cult to attempt to work the sun-god into its myth; we can only 
observe the amazing result and note the extreme antiquity of the 
process. On the other hand, the prominence of sun-worship in the 
JPyramid Texts is easily explained if we keep In mind their date. 
At the end of the IVth Dynasty a change of royal family took 
place. This was well known to the Egyptians of later days 5 for the 
\Vestcar; Papyrus, dating from the Hyksos Period, preserves a 
story which tells how Khufu, a king of the IVth Dynasty, was told 
by a magician that a priestess of Re, the sun-god, had conceived 


three "sons by the god himself, that they should live to be kings 
of the land, and that the eldest of them should be high 'priest of 
Heliopolis. The event alluded to is obvious and its reality is con- 
firmed by numerous circumstances (p. 284 sy.'). The kings of the 
Vth Dynasty represent a new royal family whose home was 
Heliopolis and whose cult was therefore that of the sun. This 
became the state religion; the pharaohs of this Dynasty proclaimed 
themselves sons of Re, built great new temples in his honour, and 
were laid to rest in tombs which in form were perhaps reproduc- 
tions of the pyramidal benben-stone sacred to the sun at Helio- 
polis. Hence we need not be surprised to find the Pyramid Texts 
dominated by solar myth and ritual. 

The other element which comes to the fore in these texts is that 
connected with Osiris and his cycle of deities. Few are un- 
acquainted with Plutarch's version of the Osiris story, how the 
wicked Set,, anxious to be rid of his brother, made a wooden coffin 
in which by means of a ruse he induced Osiris to place himself. 
The coffin was then nailed up and cast into the sea, which bore 
it to land at Byblus in Syria, where an Erica tree grew up and 
enclosed it as it lay on the shore. The tree was felled and used as 
a pillar in the royal palace, where Osiris* faithful sister and wife 
Isis, wandering in search of her husband's body, at last found it 
and took the body back to Egypt. There, unfortunately, Set, 
while hunting by moonlight, found it and scattered the bones far 
and wide, whence came the innumerable relics of Osiris shown to 
the faithful of, later days in the temples of Egypt. Meanwhile 
Horus, the young son of Osiris and Isis, had been growing up in 
concealment from Set in the marshes of the Delta. On attaining 
to manhood he sought out his father's murderer, and a combat 
took place in which Horus lost an eye and Set was injured in still 
more distressing fashion. 

The older sources are less explicit. According to the Pyramid 
Texts Set struck his brother down in Nedyt, wherever that may 
be, and on the British Museum Stela, No. 797, a late production, 
but based on documents of the Pyramid Age, siris is represented 
as having been drowned. 

The earliest localization of the worship of Osiris is found at 
Zedu in the Delta, a town known to the Greeks as Busiris, * House 
of Osiris/ Here he was symbolized by a cult-object called the zed, 
or dad* which has been variously interpreted as a four-fold column, 
a tree with lopped branches, and a backbone, and wlych was 
ceremoniously "set up* on the last day of the fourth month of the 
Inundation Season of each year. Now Osiris was not the original 


local god of Busiris, a position held by Anzety, a deity usually 
represented by a human head set on a pole, with arms wielding 
the cro^jk and flail, and called in the Pyramid Texts *the chief of 
the eastern nomes/ Whence Osiris came to Buskis we do not 
know: several indications have been thought to point towards 
Syria, and this may have a distant echo In the reference to Byblus 
in Plutarch's version of the myth (see p. 264). 

A belief has gained almost universal currency among archae- 
ologists that Osiris was a god of the Nile, or more generally of 
fertility, or of crops, or of changing seasons and hence of resurrec- 
tion. Now, though it is true that in course of time Osiris became 
associated with these ideas, we are not in a position to say that 
the connexion was a genetic one. The evidence for such a belief 
is scanty and indecisive, and is outweighed by evidence which 
suggests that Osiris was either a very ancient king deified, or that 
he was nothing more than a personification of dead kingship. In 
either case, the essential fact to be grasped is that he is first and 
foremost a dead king. How he received the attributes of power 
over the processes of nature we do not know; some have suggested, 
and there are analogies to support the idea, that such powers were 
held to be inherent in early kingship, others that the connexion 
of the god with the river and hence with vegetation is due to the 
story of his death by drowning in it, 

It would perhaps be overbold to assume that Osiris had been 
accepted as a member of the Heliopolitan cycle as early as the 
foundation of the calendar in 4241 B.C., merely because the god 
gave his name to one of the five intercalary days. But it is certain 
that by the time of the Pyramid Texts he and his cycle had 
assumed such importance that they had succeeded in very seriously 
modifying the beliefs of the old sun-cult as represented in the 
texts. How natural this was is evident when we remember that 
these were funerary texts collected for the use of dead kings, and 
that Osiris was himself a dead king, or at least a personification of 
dead kingship. But in order that we may fully understand the 
nature of the modifications produced it is necessary to enquire 
more closely into the beliefs of the early Egyptians concerning 
the next life and its relation to this. 

In nothing does the unphilosophical temperament of the Egyp- 
tians betray itself more clearly than in their beliefs concerning the 
nature of human existence. A man's being seems in early times to 
have been regarded as manifesting itself under various aspects, of 
which he most essential were the ka y the ba and the ikh, which 
we may provisionally render by the words * character/ 4 mani- 


festatipn/ and * glorified state' respectively. Of less Importance 
were other aspects such as the shadow, the name and the body. 
In later times the list was increased by the ^addition j?f such 
appurtenances of personality as the destiny, birthplace and up- 

Now it would be a mistake to characterize the ka and the &a 
and the ikh as 'parts' of the person, as is often done, or to believe 
that the Egyptian himself had perfectly sharp and distinct con- 
ceptions of each. The ka, represented in the hieroglyphs by a sign 
consisting of two arms stretched upwards, and shown^ by the 
manner of its early writing to have been regarded as divine, was 
a phase of being which, in origin, may have been possessed only 
by gods and kings, by the latter possibly only in so far as they were 
regarded as deities, and extended to private persons only in later 
times when a similar extension took place in the whole of the 
royal funerary cult. All we know is that every god, king, and man 
receives at his birth a ka who coexists with him during his life, 
and from whom it is essential that he should not be separated 
during his death. The precise relation between the two is difficult 
to grasp. The usual modern conceptions of the ka as a * double* 
or a * protecting genius' seem too narrow, even though in special 
cases these may be adequate translations of the word; and the 
latest tendency is to go back to the older view of the ka as the 
* character 1 or 'individuality/ However this may be, the ka 
assumed a gradually increasing importance from the funerary 
point of view, perhaps because it was the least changeable and 
most stable of the various aspects* 

As the ka stands for the fixed individuality, so the la represents 
the changeable 'incarnation' or * external manifestation/ It can 
assume many shapes, the most common of which is that of a 
human-headed bird, with human arms holding the sign of life 
and that of wind or breath. In funerary scenes it hovers over the 
dead and holds to his nostrils the vivifying signs which it carries, 
whence it has often been regarded as the 'soul/ In the Pyramid 
Texts it seems to be the great aim of the king to become a ba 
after his death, though the belief that the ba came into existence 
only at this moment is strongly contradicted by the story of the 
Misanthrope, who, while still alive, carries on a conversation 
with his ta. The origin of the ba probably lies in the totemic 
nature of so much of Egyptian belief, which demanded that after 
death a man should go to his totem. To the same origin are to be 
traced the ideas prevalent in the Book of the Dead as to tne dead 
man making his transformations into a swallow, a crocodile, a 


phoenix, a lotus, etc. As for theikh, usually rendered 'glorioijs one* 
or 'illunjinated one/ it is clearly a mode of existence after death, 
and the dead are often as a whole referred to as the 'glorious ones/ 

If we ask in what way these beliefs concerning the nature of 
existence were applied to the problem of death, there awaits us only 
one more illustration of the fact that the attitude of the Egyptian 
towards the phenomena of reality frequently shows a remarkable 
lack of attention and reflective thought. On this point he held 
the most inconsistent views, without apparently being in the least 
troubled by their incompatibility. Yet there is patent in them all 
a horror of physical death, a refusal to accept it as a possibility, 
and a determination to stave it off by every possible means. One 
of the commonest forms of address on grave stelae begins * O ye 
who love life and hate death/ and the constant refrain of the 
Pyramid Texts is 'King X is not dead, he is alive/ 

Now it must be clearly understood that the death referred to 
here is a physical death. For the Egyptians all existence, whether 
of gods or of dead or living men, presupposed physical wants. To 
this belief are due the whole of the temple and mortuary rituals, 
which with a few exceptions are identical. Even in priestly nomen- 
clature this fact comes to the surface. The Egyptian word for a 
servant is hem\ a temple priest is hem neter y Servant of the god 7 ; 
and a mortuary priest is hem ka y * servant of the ka+* For the god 
in his shrine and for the dead man in his tomb the same ceremonies 
are performed, and the same offerings of food and drink are made 
in the one case as in the other. Both gods and dead must be fed in 
the same way as living men; and one of the chief anxieties ex- 
pressed by the dead in the funerary texts is lest, for want of food 
offered at the tomb, they should be compelled to consume their 
own excrement. This physical analogy between the dead and the 
living may be said to reach its climax of absurdity in certain tomb 
chapels of the Ilnd Dynasty at Sakkarah, where lavatories are 
provided for the use of the dead occupant. This is not speculation 
as to the nature of death, but mere inability to conceive of any 
form of existence other than that of physical life. 

At the same time it was necessary to meet the obvious fact that 
the life of gods and dead, though regarded as physical, was in 
some way different from that of living men. The problem was 
solved by making the difference one of degree rather than of kind. 
Gods and dead lived in a less real manner, and hence, as a conse- 
quence, all service that was designed to benefit them must be 
carried but in a prescribed manner. This is nowhere more 
apparent than in the ritual which forms the introduction to the 


Pyramid Texts. This is a feast modelled on an earthly banquet 
with all the ceremonies attendant thereon. It begins with^a lustra- 
tion, symbolical of the hand-washing which preceded an ggyptian 
meal, "Then follow the burning of incense and the pouring of 
water, two rites which had for their object the restoration to the 
corpse of its pristine moisture and odour. Next comes an abridged 
form of the ceremony of 'Opening the Mouth/ performed in full 
on the day of the funeral, and intended to give back to the dead 
man the use of all his organs of sense and perception. A small 
preliminary meal is now served, followed by a complicated toilet, 
after which the deceased is ready for the banquet proper. This is 
technically known as 'the offering which the king gives/ probably 
because in origin the mortuary feasts of the great nobles were 
provided out of the royal purse, though this is a matter of some 

There is hardly any room for doubt as to the nature of this 
ceremony. It is a purely material banquet in which the deceased 
is regarded as taking part in his tomb. In the case of the royal 
mortuary temples which adjoined the pyramid tombs of the Vth 
and Vlth Dynasties we have no reason for disbelieving that the 
offerings were actually made m some instances for many years 
after the death of the tomb's owner. In the case of private persons, 
to whom in this period the royal mortuary rites had been gradually 
extended, we cannot have the same assurance, though we know 
that even as late as the Middle Kingdom the more important 
nobles had their own mortuary priests (p. 287). It may well be 
that a few inexpensive offerings coupled with a rapid recitation of 
the more salient parts of the ritual often represented the priest's 
conception of his duties. 

One fact of supreme importance emerges from all this. The 
dead man is looked upon as actually alive in his tomb. And in this 
belief lies, beyond all doubt, the origin of that strange Egyptian 
practice, mummification. True mummification, that is the attempt 
to pad out the preserved corpse in such a way as to retain its 
original lifelike appearance, is late in Egypt, the art only reaching 
its full perfection in the XXIst Dynasty. Previous to this all that 
had been attempted was the protection of the body against com- 
plete dissolution by means of the removal of most of the internal 
organs, the^application of preservatives, and the use of linen band- 
ages. Primitive mummification has been found in tombs of the 
Ilnd Dynasty at Sakkarah, and the wrapped arm with jewelled 
bracelets of 1st Dynasty type found in the tomb of Zer at Abydos 
carries the practice still further back. 


This attempt to preserve the body from decay has ofteti been 
explained as due to a desire to provide a home in which the ka or 
some c^frher spiritual essence of the dead man might take up its 
abode whenever it chose to revisit the tomb. Such an explanation 
is based on the failure to recognize the Egyptian belief in the 
continued physical existence of the dead in the tomb itself. The 
body must be preserved simply because it is the dead man him- 
self. What takes part in the mortuary ceremonies and banquets 
is not the ka or the ka y but the dead man himself, who is literally 
regarded as leaving the tomb-chamber below, ascending the shaft, 
and issuing forth through the false door into the offering-chamber. 
Hence the supreme importance of preserving the body. Moreover, 
in the present writer's opinion, there is no evidence for calling 
the statues found in the tomb-chapels ^-statues, or for supposing 
that they were placed there to provide a bodily shell in which the 
ka might inhere or dwell. The more probable explanation is much 
cruder and simpler than this, it is that the statue is designed to 
take the place of the deceased man in case his body should, despite 
all precautions, fall into decay; it was in fact an attempt to make 
assurance doubly sure. See also p. 288. 

In all this we cannot help seeing the counsel of despair. The 
fact of physical death is not to be admitted. The body must if 
possible be preserved, and kept alive by offerings of food and 
drink. Should the body be overtaken by dissolution the statue will 
perhaps serve in its place. But this is a comfortless notion, especially 
for the poor. Mummification, perhaps originally a privilege of the 
king alone, was an expensive process and only gradually became 
usual for persons of moderate means in Egypt, while the provision 
of statues and mortuary priests was within the reach only of the 
*rich minority. As for the poor, they must either have lived without 
hope, or at the best relied on the makeshifts of * sympathetic * 
substitution eked out by the magical power of recited words. 
Above all, it should be emphasized that all these services rendered 
to the dead were the outcome of each man's desire to have his 
own future welfare amply provided for when the time came. 
There is no reason for supposing that there existed any cult of 
the dead as such, still less that the mortuary ritual was an attempt 
to placate the spirits of the departed and to prevent them from 
doing injury to the living. 

Side by side with, and without prejudice to, the crude belief in 
a continued life in the tomb, we find other ideas prevailing accord- 
ing to which the dead enjoy a glorious existence in some distant 
sphere. Such an existence may have been at the outset the unique 

C.A.H.I 22, 


privilege of kings; it is known to us in early times mainly from 
the Pyramid Texts, and its conditions are such as could perhaps 
be satisfied by royalty alone, inasmuch as the king was in the first 
place the son'of Re and In the second place, when dead, identified 
with Osiris, 

In the solar portion of the Pyramid Texts the life of the here- 
after is closely associated with Re, and the aim of every dead king 
is to reach the eastern side of the sky, there to be with the god. 
The difficulty is how to get there. The idea of a righteous life on 
earth as a passport to future happiness is at this time almost com- 
pletely undeveloped, and it is only rarely and incidentally that the 
words 'King X is righteous' appear. Frequently we read of 'the 
lake of Kha, whose farther shore is in the east of heaven/ which 
has to be crossed by him who would be with Re. The normal 
method of crossing this water is to be ferried over by a boatman 
called 'Turn-face/ who can only be cajoled into doing his office 
by some cunning pretext. It may even be necessary to appeal to 
Re himself to soften the heart of his obdurate ferryman, or even 
to bring the boat over in person. Sometimes the dead king crosses 
the lake on a pair of reed-floats of primitive type, made for him 
by four youths who sit on the east side of the sky. If all fails, he 
must take unto himself wings and fly up to heaven as a falcon or 
a grasshopper; or a bright ladder, perhaps the sun's slanting rays, 
may be let down for him from heaven or set up on earth. 

All this is very primitive, and no less so are the magical charms 
or threats to the gods in case of non-compliance by which it is 
sought to force a passage heavenward for the dead monarch. Once 
arrived in heaven the king becomes the intimate companion of Re, 
whose son he already is at this period. He is variously called his 
scribe, his adviser, or 'the acquaintance of Re, the companion of 
Horus of the Horizon,' and accompanies the god in the solar 
barque on his journey across the sky. 

In all this solarized version of the hereafter we occasionally 
catch a fleeting glimpse of earlier beliefs with regard to the dead; 
there are not infrequent references, for example, to the dead man 
as a star in the sky, and in two passages he is represented as having 
the head of the jackal- or dog-god Anubis. These, however, seem 
to be but reminiscences of older things and may be neglected. 

In strong contrast to the solar version of life beyond the grave 
stands the Osirian myth. We have already seen how the early 
evidence is^to the effect that Osiris is either a dead king or a 
personification of dead kingship. In conformity with tliis the 
deceased king is in the Pyramid Texts actually identified with 


Osiris and called 'the Osiris King X,* and as such receives all 
necessary funerary attention from his son Horus, who is incarnate 
in the laying king his successor (similarly called *the Horus King 
Y *), an idea afterwards extended to include private individuals. In 
the Pyramid Texts the dead king, as Osiris, is already ruler of the 
dead and Lord of Dewat (Duat), a region which was perhaps originally 
conceived as in the sky, but which was afterwards certainly located 
beneath the earth and made the home of the departed. 

Gradually, however, an attempt to reconcile these two con- 
flicting systems took place. In the Pyramid Texts we can almost 
watch the process. Myths, obviously solar in origin, are fitted on 
to the Osirian cycle, and the Osirian hereafter is carried into the 
sky, the realm of Re. In some cases we actually find a passage in 
two forms, firstly in its original solar colouring, and secondly, but 
side by side with the first, in an expanded and Osirianized shape. 
Thus the two faiths reacted the one on the other, and, despite 
contradictions, both found acceptance. Side by side with these 
products of a gradual process we find in the Pyramid Texts 
instances of the crudest possible editing in favour of the Osirian 
myth. Thus in the offering ritual in the pyramid of Unis the words 
*the Osiris' have been mechanically inserted in front of the king's 
name whenever this occurs at the opening of a section, but the 
editor has been too careless to make the addition when the king's 
name occurs in the body of a section. 

Such then is the main conflict of belief in Egypt in the Pyramid 
Age. But we should be wrong if we regarded this conflict as 
occupying an important place in the thoughts of the average man 
in Egypt. If the intelligence of the priests, who represented the 
learning of the country, never got beyond these feeble efforts to 
reconcile the obviously incompatible, what are we to expect from 
the uneducated? They doubtless believed precisely what they 
were told to believe, untrammelled by such formulae as ^f cannot 
be both B and not- 5,' and for them religion consisted in practice 
mainly in performing certain acts of devotion at the shrine of the 
local god. 

Much more might be said, but the preceding paragraphs may 
suffice to give some idea of the workings of the Egyptian mind 
in dealing with the problems of life and death, and to show how 
far removed they were from evolving any consistent theory of the 
nature and meaning of things, from sheer lack of the philosophical 
habit of mind. It would not be fair, however, to leave the period 
without Reference to the one document which stands out as the 
sole effort made in Egypt previous to the XVIIIth Dynasty to 


account In a rational and consistent manner for existence. In the 
British Museum,, under the number 797, Is ^a stela dated in the 
reign of Sliabaka, who lived about 700 B.C. Time has dealj; hardly 
with it, for It was once used as a nether millstone, with the result 
that quite two-thirds of its content is utterly obliterated* Enough 
remains, however, to show us that Shabaka's scribe was not lying 
when he claimed the document to be a copy of an ancient and 
worm-eaten papyrus, and that Its contents go back to the Pyramid 
Age, The document, which is composite. Is of Memphite origin, 
and is an obvious attempt to assert the claims of Ptah, the god of 
Memphis, to a commanding position in the Egyptian pantheon, 
a process with which we are already familiar. Eight forms or 
emanations of Ptah are said to spring from the god himself. One 
of these Is called 'Ptah the Great* and is described as the "heart 
and tongue of the Nine,* that Is, of the group formed by the 
original Ptah and his eight emanations. This particular form is 
then commented on at some length, the heart being treated as 
the seat of thought and the tongue as the executive member which 
carries out the designs of the heart. * When the eyes see or the ears 
hear or the nose breathes they lead it (the sensation) to the heart. 
This It is that causes every decision to go forth; the tongue it Is 
that repeats what the heart has devised.. , . In this way the kas and 
the qualities were made, and all that is lovely or hateful; in this 
way life is given to the peaceful man and death to the transgressor, 
in this way arise all work and all art/ And so the catalogue con- 
tinues. It is interesting not only as a piece of metaphysics, an 
attempt to explain how all things had their origin in Ptah, but 
also as a piece of psychology, for the analogy of the tongue and 
heart applied here to Ptah in itself betrays thoughtful speculation 
as to the nature and bodily localization of the human faculties. 


The prosperity of Egypt seems to have met with a rude set-back 
at the ead of the Vltb. Dynasty, and the succeeding years up to 
the^end of the ,Xth Dynasty, and perhaps even later, are marked 
by Internal dissension and by Incursions of Asiatic peoples into the 
Delta. And yet to this stormy Interval are to be traced the earliest 
extensive examples yet known to us of Egyptian literary activity. 
Purely a product of its time, this literature, like the thought which 
inspires It, is very definitely pessimistic in tone. It coufd hardly 
have been otherwise. In the Delta is, It would seem, the Asiatic 


Invader. *The desert Is throughout the land/ says Ipuwef In his 
Admonitions, 'The nornes are laid waste; a foreign tribe from 
abroad^ias come to Egypt/ In Upper Egypt, at this time probably 
cleft into two Independent kingdoms, confosion and treachery are 
rampant. *The wrongdoer Is everywhere* The plague Is through- 
out the land. Blood is everywhere. Gates, columns and walls are 
consumed by fire. No craftsmen work. Nile overflows, but no one 
ploughs for him. Every man says * c We know not what has hap- 
pened throughout the land." Men are few, women are lacking, 
and no children are conceived. Cattle are left to stray, and there 
is none to gather them together. All Is ruin/ 

Thus the Egyptian has been brought to muse on the mutability 
of human fortunes, and an Irresistible wave of pessimism sweeps 
through the land and gives us the world's first literature in the 
true sense of the term. And let It not be forgotten that the disasters 
of this age affected not only the living but also the dead. We have 
seen how necessary It was in the eyes of the Egyptian that his 
corpse should rest undestroyed in his tomb and should receive the 
due mortuary offerings. No doubt In many cases the mortuary 
arrangements established by the great kings and nobles of the 
Pyramid Age had already lapsed; the ^-priests had ceased to 
function, and the tomb chapels had either been destroyed by the 
enemy or begun to fall into decay from natural causes. Gradually 
It was borne In upon the Egyptian mind that even the noblest and 
the richest had proved powerless to protect themselves against the 
attacks of time and circumstances. And, If this was the case, for 
what could ordinary men hope? It was typical of the Egyptian 
temperament that, Instead of meeting the situation with a new 
and advanced theory of life and death, he tamely bowed to the 
inevitable and took refuge In a pessimistic literature. 

But before we deal with this In detail we must very briefly 
review the earlier history of Egyptian literature. The Egyptians 
spoke a language of Hamitic type showing distinct affinities on 
the one hand with Semitic and on the other with Berber. As early 
as the beginning of the 1st Dynasty they were writing this language 
with considerable facility, having even evolved a cursive form of 
the script, though the specimens that have survived, mostly seal- 
Ings and labels, are not always completely intelligible to us. The 
script had originally been pictographic and had only been rendered 
phonetic by a wide application of the ingenious device of rebus- 
writing. Thus the Egyptian word for *a house* consisted of the 
letters p and r In that order, with a vowel between them con- 
cerning which we only know that it varied according to the 


grammatical construction of the word. The house sign, a simple 
rectangle with a gap In one side to represent the door or entrance, 
could therefore be employed to represent the bi-consonan>al com- 
bination p-r in whatever word it occurred and whatever the vowel, 
If any, which separated the two consonants. Thus the sign 
offered a means of writing the verb *to go out/ whose consonantal 
skeleton was pry, the weak consonant y being, like the variable 
vowels, negligible. In this way a series of phonetic signs arose, 
some representing a combination of two consonants and some a 
combination of three. Nor was much difficulty encountered in 
finding by the same method signs to represent the single con- 
sonants. There were many words In Egyptian which, owing to 
the falling away or degeneration into vowel sounds of the weak 
consonants w y y and the soft breathing (alepK), or to other phonetic 
causeSj had been reduced in pronunciation to a consonant pre- 
ceded or followed by a vowel, and since the unstable vowel could 
be neglected the picture of such an object could be used as a 
rebus to represent the one consonant phonetically in all positions 
and combinations. Thus the picture of a mouth, the word for 
which was ro (a weak consonant having dropped off at the end) 
could always be used for r* 

In this way the Egyptians had evolved at a very early date an 
almost though not quite perfect alphabet, thus escaping the cum- 
brous syllabary of the cuneiform script (p. 126), One of the world's 
greatest discoveries was beneath their eyes and yet with typical 
conservatism they refused to make use of it; instead of discarding 
all the old picture-signs as such, and all the two- and three-con- 
sonantal group-signs, and writing everything purely alphabetically 
with the uniliteral phonetic signs, they chose to keep them all. 
They even went further and produced a new kind of sign* In 
many words still written by means of their pictures it became 
customary to prefix, or more rarely to affix, some or all of the 
phonetic signs in order to make sure that the reader should 
recognize the picture aright. This made it less necessary to be 
accurate In the drawing of the pictures. Thus, in the case of the 
Innumerable names of birds, It was soon seen that, provided part 
or the whole of the phonetic spelling accompanied the picture, the 
Irksome and often impossible task of making the precise species 
of the bird recognizable and distinct was no longer needed. Even 
now conservatism prevented the obvious course of dropping out 
the bird altogether, and so a picture of what we may call a r generic 
bird of no particular species or of a very common species was left 
as an aid to the reader. Similarly, instead of drawing out the 


figures of the various animals the scribe wrote their names^phone- 
tically,^adding a picture of an animal's skin. Hence arose what is 
known as the generic determinative, the latest development of 
hieroglyphic writing. Such was the elaborate and somewhat 
clumsy means which the Egyptians had devised for recording 
their deeds and their thoughts, and it is consonant with their 
practical genius that as early as the beginning of the dynastic 
period they were already writing shortened forms of the hiero- 
glyphic signs in ink upon wood and other materials. Long before 
the Middle Kingdom papyrus was in common use, and records 
and accounts were being kept on this material in a fully developed 
cursive script known as hieratic, 

Of literature in the true sense of the term there is little or 
nothing under the Old Kingdom, The biographies of the nobles 
as recorded in their tombs are for the most part catalogues of titles 
and promotions, with occasional and only too rare stories of military 
prowess. The point of view is almost always purely personal, and 
yet there is seldom a human touch, still more seldom a literary. 
One exception, however, must not pass unnoticed, for it is one of 
our earliest examples of that strophic arrangement which appar- 
ently formed the basis of Egyptian literary style. It is the triumph 
song of Uni over the safe return of his army from a. campaign in 
Syria in the time of Pepi I of the VI th Dynasty (see p. 292 sq.\ 
It consists of seven couplets, the first line of each being identical* 

This army returned in safety; 

It had hacked up the land of the Sand-dwellers. 
This army returned in safety; 

It had destroyed (?) the land of the Sand-dwellers. 
This army returned in safety > 

It had overthrown its fortresses. 
This army returned in safety; 

It had cut down its figs and its vines, 

Now this strophic arrangement undoubtedly has its origin in 
old religious hymns. Considerable portions of the Pyramid Texts 
consist of ancient hymns arranged in couplets of two sentences 
parallel in form and in idea. Whether they were also parallel in 
metre our ignorance of Egyptian vocalization and accentuation 
forbids us to say, but in any case they constitute the world's 
earliest poetic form. The diction, terse and commonplace in many 
cases, rises to considerable heights of imagination in others, as for 
instance in the description of the commotion caused among the 
stars of heaven when they see the dead king Vising as a soul/ or 
again in the hymn to the Nile, where we read *the marshes laugh, 


the batiks overflow; the divine offerings descend. Mankind is of a 
glad countenance and the heart of the gods rejoices.' Hege, then, 
in the Pyramid Texts we get a glimpse of the origins and^literary 
forerunners of the texts of the Earlier Intermediate Period. 

Of the five important texts which clearly have their origin in 
this period not one has come down to us in a contemporary manu- 
script. The Admonitions of Ipuwer (Leiden Papyrus 344) dates 
from the XlXth Dynasty, though it manifestly goes back to a 
prototype which cannot be placed later than the Xllth Dynasty, 
and describes a state of things which passed with the Intermediate 
Period preceding this. To the same group of texts belong the 
British Museum writing-board, 5645, and the still more famous 
"Dialogue of the Man-weary-of-life with his Soul/ known to us 
from a Middle Kingdom Papyrus (Berlin Museum 3024). It 
would be difficult to prove that the original of this last actually 
goes back to the Intermediate Period, but its affinity with the two 
preceding shows that whatever the actual date of the composition 
it owes Its inspiration to a state of things prevailing at that time. 
This has of late been made still more certain by the publication in 
full of two new texts (Petrograd 1 1 1 6 ^and 5), the first of which 
contains a literary composition of a form very prevalent in Egypt, 
consisting of the * Teaching' given by a king, whose name is lost, 
to his son Merire, afterwards a king of the Heracleopolitan House 
of the IXth and Xth Dynasties. Our copy dates from the XVIIIth 
Dynasty, but there is no reason to believe that the original was not 
contemporary with the ruler whose 'political testament * it con- 
tains. It establishes beyond all possibility of doubt the fact of an 
Asiatic invasion at this period and throws back to this date at least 
the origin of the literary form, known as * Instructions ' or * Teach- 

The other papyrus (i 1 1 6 5) contains a document of even greater 
importance to us, for it is in the form of a prophecy, and clearly 
belongs both in date and style to the pessimistic group of texts. 
It relates how king Snefru, by way of seeking diversion, com- 
manded that some person should be brought to amuse him with 
'beauteous words and choice speeches.* A certain Neferrohu 
appears and, on being asked to tell of * things to come/ proceeds 
to picture the land In a condition very similar to that described 
by Ipuwer in the Admonitions, *I show thee the land upside 
down; that happens which never happened before. Men shall take 
up weapons of war; the land lives in uproar. All good things have 
departed. Things made are as though they had never beefi made. 
The land Is mlnished, its rulers are multiplied. Re removes him- 


self from men/ Finally a saviour is foretold who shall set^ Egypt 
to rights and build the 'Wall of the Prince' to keep the Asiatics 
from invading Egypt. The reference to this wall enables us to 
identify this saviour with Amenemhet I, the first ruler of the 
Xllth Dynasty., to whose reign, unless we assume an interpolation, 
the original of our composition is doubtless to be dated, 

But we must turn back for a moment to the "Dialogue of the 
Man-weary-of-life with his Soul* before we attempt to estimate 
the bearing and value of these texts as a whole. In this papyrus 
we are introduced to a man who through the buffering's of mis- 
fortune has been brought to a point where he seriously contem- 
plates escaping from life by suicide. He is represented as carrying 
on a dialogue with his own soul (ba^ not ikk> is the correct reading). 
The text is difficult and obscure, especially in the first half, the 
beginning of which is lost, but the final advice of the ba is clear: 
'Now hearken unto me. Behold it is good for men to hearken. 
Follow the happy day (a common phrase for 'to enjoy oneself). 
Forget care/ To this advice the man replies in four strophic 
sections probably metrical in structure. The first depicts his sad 
plight on earth and consists of strophes of this type, c Behold my 
name stinks (?) more than the smell of fishermen on the edges (?) 
of the marshes when they have been a-fishing/ The second tells 
how evil mankind has become: *To whom shall (or *do*) I speak 
to-day; brothers are evil, the friends of to-day love not'; or again, 
*To whom shall I speak to-day; hearts are covetous, each man 
makes away with his fellow's goods/ Then follows a panegyric on 
death: 'Death is before me to-day like the convalescence of a sick 
man, like going forth after an illness ( ?). Death is before me to-day 
like the smell of myrrh, like sitting beneath the sail of the boat on a 
breezy day. Death is before me to-day like the longing of a man 
to see his home when he has spent many years in captivity/ The 
whole ends with a short description of the happy fate of the dead, 
'They who are over yonder/ 

What is the inner meaning of this phase of Egyptian literature ? 
In the first place it is the purely physical product of the distressful 
days of the Intermediate Period, whether we believe that some or 
all of it was actually written during that time or immediately 
after. And in the second place it reflects, as Breasted has so rightly 
pointed out, the awakening of man to the moral unworthiness of 
society and the possibility of better things. In Petrograd u 16 
a saviour is actually predicted, and again, in the Admonitions of 
Ipuwet*, although there is no prediction, the poet cannot refrain 
from drawing a picture of the ideal ruler of a state under the form 


of the sun-god Re. This type of writing, whether definitely pre- 
dictive or not, is closely akin to the prophetic writings of the 
Hebrews, and every discussion of the latter must reckon ^ith the 
possibility of Egyptian models. As Breasted remarks concerning 
the Admonitions, "this is Messianism nearly a thousand years 
before its appearance among the HebrewsV Cf. pp. 216, 325. 


With the Middle Kingdom came the restoration of prosperity 
in Egypt and the triumph of the feudal system. It thus gives us 
an admirable opportunity for observing the behaviour of the 
Egyptian mind and character under normal conditions. We may 
therefore with advantage choose this as a point at which to ask 
on what moral principles the Egyptian acted, and what he thought 
about his action, 

Essentially practical in this as in all else, he gave himself up 
very little to ethical speculation, although, as will be seen, his 
mind had a considerable and very definite ethical content. He had 
never reached the point of distinguishing ethical from meta- 
physical rightness, if we may trust the evidence of his language, 
for the one word maat serves to translate our "truth/ 'right* and 
* righteousness/ This ambiguity prevents us from seizing the 
precise meaning of one of the most striking ceremonies in the 
daily temple ritual, the presentation to the god of a small figure 
of Maat personified as a goddess. On the other side, ethics was 
not very clearly distinguished speculatively from aesthetics, for 
there exists only one word nefer to express both morally good 
and aesthetically beautiful. These facts show us how undeveloped 
and undifferentiated was the science of ethics* But that morality 
was a concept full of practical meaning we know from the tomb 
inscriptions with their endlessly reiterated professions of piety and 
of charity towards mankind. 

And yet in the Pyramid Texts the conception of righteous 
dealing as a qualification for happiness in a future life barely takes 
form. Here It must be remembered that, in the first place, these 
texts deal essentially with kings, who doubtless were regarded as 
outside and above the application of moral standards; and in the 
second place that the conception of morality may perfectly well 
exist to a high degree without necessarily being connected with 
the hope of happiness beyond the grave. Thus on the tomb-stelae 
of the great nobles of the Old Kingdom we find their go<5d dfceds 

1 Development of Religion and Thought in jfncient Egypt (1912), p- 212. 


recited In order to persuade the passers by their tombs to say those 
prayers which according to Egyptian belief could secure food and 
drink teethe dead. So Herkhuf says : i I was one who was excellent; 
beloved of his father, approved of his mother, one whom all his 
brethren loved. I gave bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked. 
I ferried across the river him who had no boat. O ye who live 
upon earth, who pass by this tomb in going up or down stream, 
and who shall say "Thousands of bread and beer for the owner of 
this tomb," I will give thanks (?) to you in the necropolis/ Here 
we have a tacit admission of the fact that all the virtues enumerated 
are impotent to procure for the deceased the most elementary 
physical needs of life in the tomb. He uses the catalogue of his 
good deeds merely to persuade his survivors to recite those prayers 
which it was believed could secure for him food and drink. But 
we must observe the logical consequence. Felicity in or beyond 
the tomb is dependent on the performance of correct rites and the 
pronouncing of the correct prayers by a man's fellows at his tomb. 
The most obvious way in which he can enlist their sympathy and 
services is by assuring them on his grave-stela that he acted kindly 
by his neighbours in his lifetime and bidding them requite it in 
this way. Thus good actions do indirectly help to ensure a happy 
hereafter. It would be rash to assume that here lay the origin of 
the moral sanction in Egypt, the causative connexion between 
piety on this earth and well-being in the next; but at least this fact 
must have had a place in the development of the idea. 

What then was the ethical standard in earliest Egypt, for such 
there must have been, since actions could be distinguished as good 
or bad? Probably it was, as to a great extent it remained in later 
times, almost purely selfish. As we might say in our modern 
phrase, virtue *paid* on the whole. It gained the approval of a 
man's fellow creatures because they benefited by it. *I did that 
which all men approved* was perhaps the highest piece of self- 
commendation which a noble could inscribe upon his tomb. The 
idea of right as a thing commendable in itself is completely absent 
from Egyptian literature; and there is no word for 'duty* except 
in the very limited sense of the c duties * or 'functions' of a par- 
ticular post or office. When Ptahhotep tells us * Great is right, and 
endureth and prevaileth, it has not been brought to nought since 
the days of Osiris,* he proceeds to qualify this high moral idealism 
by the addition of a more worldly reflection : * It is vice that maketh 
away wjth wealth; never has evil brought its venture safe to land.* 
In plain words the Egyptians believed that virtue brought its own 
reward on earthy and this was their main motive for good conduct. 


Whatever was felt in later days this was certainly true of early 
times. Nowhere is it more clearly shown than in the etkical and 
didactic literature of the Middle Kingdom, ^ ^ 

The Egyptians were formalists in literature as in all else and 
their writings consequently fall into clearly defined groups. The 
simplest of these is the romance. Of this we have two outstanding 
examples. The first is the 'Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor/ from 
a Petrograd papyrus. This, unless it contain some allegory invisible 
to our eyes, is simply a fairy tale. The hero goes to sea in a ship 
150 cubits long by 40 wide, and is wrecked on a desert island 
inhabited only by a huge snake-like monster 60 cubits long. * Its 
beard was more than 2 cubits in length, its limbs were overlaid 
witK gold, and its eyebrows were of real lapis lazuli/ The snake, 
despite the sailor's apprehensions, deals gently and even kindly 
with him, and foretells his speedy deliverance, which is effected 
by the arrival of a ship from Egypt, on which the sailor departs 
loaded with gifts by his strange host. The other romance, that of 
Sinuhe, is more pretentious and has a historical setting (see pp. 
226 syy.j 304). The inference from this and from similar evidence 
with regard to other works is that Egyptian literature embraced 
few masterpieces, but these few were very popular and provided 
a source for study and copy-writing for centuries. 

Another of the groups into which Egyptian writings fall is of 
greater interest still to the modern reader. It comprises a number 
of didactic and moral works under the title of Teachings * or 'In- 
structions/ We have already met one such work in the c Instruc- 
tions of a king to his son Merire/ Others are the * Instructions of 
Ptahhotep/ the instructions of King Amenemhet I* and the 
'Instructions of Dawef to his son/ The last of these is a later 
document; the second, which has survived only in several late 
copies (e.g. Papyrus Millingen), is closely related to the pessimistic 
literature dealt with above (p. 303). The * Instructions ofPtahhotep/ 
of which parts are preserved in a number of papyri (notably Prisse 
and British Museum 10,509), is perhaps the most difficult to 
translate of all Egyptian texts. The Instructions are represented 
as having been uttered by a vizier named Ptahhotep in the reign 
of Isesi of the Vth Dynasty. Feeling old age creeping on him the 
vizier craves the royal permission to set his son in his place and 
to give him advice on the subject of the viziership. The content 
of this advice may well be called 'the beginning of worldly 
wisdom/ Relations with one's fellow creatures both official and 
personal are dealt with. In the case of official relations we seem 
to see signs of a traditional standard of official morality. * If thou 


be a man of trust whom one great one sends to another, bf exact 
in the business whereon he sends thee, execute for him his errand 
as he bi|ls. . If thou be a leader, be patient when thou hearest 
the speech of the suppliant* Deal not roughly with him before he 
has relieved his soul of that which he thought to tell thee/ The 
advice given on the subject of personal behaviour has lost none 
of its force to-day. * Be cheerful (bright of face) all the days of thy 
life. ... If thou find a wise man in his hour a man . . of under- 
standing, as one more excellent than thyself, bend thine arms, 
bow thy back.* These practical maxims contain little notion of 
right for its own sake, and when a reason is given for a prescribed 
course of action it is that *it is profitable* or gains the doer *a good 
name* (see p. 288 J^.). 

Of no less ethical interest is the * Story of the Eloquent Peasant.* 
A poor countryman going down into Egypt with his donkeys 
laden with the produce of his oasis is robbed of all by an official 
by means of a trick* He hastens to demand justice from the 
steward under whom the unjust official is serving. In such elo- 
quent terms does he plead his cause that the steward reports the 
matter to the king, who orders the case to be dragged slowly on 
so that more may be heard of the peasant's eloquence. This chiefly 
consists in Appeals to the high standard of impartial justice which 
is to be expected from the official class in Egypt. "For thou art the 
father of the orphan, the husband of the widow, the brother of the 
forsaken maid, the apron of the motherless. Grant that I may set 
thy name in this land higher than all good laws, thou leader free 
from covetousness, great one free from pettiness, who brings to 
nought the lie and causes right to be/ This is fine imagery, but 
our poet can fly still higher in the realm of metaphor. *Thou 
rudder of heaven, thou prop of earth, thott measuring tape. * . . 
Rudder, fall not. Prop, fall not. Measuring tape, make no error/ 
The peasant makes no fewer than nine appeals in this strain, and 
the end of the papyrus, which is torn, would seem to have recorded 
the granting of his suit and the punishment of the guilty official. 
Throughout this document, which may be regarded as a dis- 
quisition on official justice, we find not a word of appeal to the 
steward's hope of future happiness. The appeal is rather to his 
sense of what is expected of an official in his position. Moreover 
it must be confessed that we are left with the impression that the 
standard implied in this papyrus and in the * Instructions of 
Ptahhotep* was not always lived up to by officials; otherwise it is 
harcl to* conceive why the peasant should be represented as at such 
pains, not to establish the justice of his claim, which is never 


disputed, but to persuade the steward to do his obvious duty (see 

p. 317'). 

From such papyri and from the tomb inscriptions we gather 
that Egypt had in th